Richard Mdluli. Picture: THULANI MBELE
Richard Mdluli. Picture: THULANI MBELE

Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli and his former colleague Mthembeni Mthunzi have each been sentenced to five years in prison for an incident that happened more than 20 years ago when they kidnapped Mdluli’s customary wife.

Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng said he had considered all types of sentences to be imposed on the two, including a non-custodial sentence, a custodial sentence, victim compensation and a fine.

“We are dealing with two senior policemen, who abrogated to themselves powers police have. These powers were abused to such an extent that the only appropriate sentence in the circumstances is a custodial one,” Mokgoatlheng said.

In 2019, Mdluli, a key ally of former president Jacob Zuma, and Mthunzi were each convicted on two counts of assault, two counts of kidnapping and two of assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm. The matter relates to the assault of Mdluli’s customary law wife, Tshidi Buthelezi and her boyfriend, Oupa Ramogibe, in 1998.

Mthunzi accompanied Mdluli to a house in Vosloorus where they also assaulted Alice Manana, forcing her to reveal the whereabouts of Buthelezi and Ramogibe. Manana then accompanied Mthunzi and Mdluli to Orange Farm, where Buthelezi and Ramogibe were found. Ramogibe was then assaulted.

Ramogibe was murdered in 1999 and no-one was arrested for his murder. Buthelezi died a few years later of natural causes.

Mokgoatlheng sentenced the two men to three years each for two counts of kidnapping. The sentences will run concurrently. On the counts of assault, the judge sentenced them to one year jail terms for each count, also to run concurrently with the three years for the kidnapping counts.

The court sentenced the two men to two years for two counts of assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.

“Effectively you are sentenced to five years in prison,” the judge said.

Mokgoatlheng said the Mdluli and Mthunzi case was one of those in which retribution and deterrence are proper purposes of punishment and they must be accorded due weight in any sentence imposed.

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