The South Gauteng High Court heard on Wednesday that the State has audio which was recorded without the knowledge of one of the witnesses testifying in the trial of former intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.
The audio came as a shock to the defence and was recorded without the witness’s knowledge.
Warrant officer Solomon Mashamaite was testifying during the trial of Mdluli who was appearing on charges relating to the 1999 kidnapping of the late Oupa Ramogibe, who allegedly had an affair with Mdluli’s lover, Tshidi Buthelezi.
Mdluli and his co-accused Mthembeni Mthunzi face charges of intimidation, kidnapping, assault with the intent to commit grievous bodily harm and defeating the ends of justice.
During cross examination by prosecutor Deon Barnard Mashamaite explained that he was the officer who went to the scene on October 1998 and took a statement after Alice Manana, Buthelezi’s friend, was shot.
Mdluli and Mthunzi have been accused of assaulting Manana, allegations they both denied.
Barnard asked the witness if Manana had mentioned anything about who she suspected for shooting her.
Mashamaite kept referring to the statement that was provided to answer some of the questions citing that it has been a long time since the incident took place and that he does not remember everything.
“She said she suspected someone but didn’t mention the person’s name.”
The officer said he was adamant that Manana never mentioned the person she was suspecting.
He said that after a while a man who said he was from the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) came to his house and told him he had been subpoenaed to appear in offices in Johannesburg.
“I didn’t know the place but I went there on the given date and I met a group of people, there were black and white people in the room. They didn’t introduce themselves and gave me the statement that I had written about an attempted murder case, they asked if I could remember something that happened ten years ago,” he said.
“Someone in the group of people asked me if I know Richard and I asked which Richard, someone said the General. I explained that I know him through work and he’s my senior.”
Mashamaite continued to tell the court that he was asked if Mdluli had anything to do with how he wrote Manana’s statement. He said he felt like he was being forced to admit that Mdluli was involved in Manana’s attack or the writing of the statement.
“There was a black lady who said I’m lying and I’m hiding something. We started arguing and I asked her if she had seen Richard Mdluli’s name on the statement and that’s when she told me she will charge me with defeating the ends of justice.”
Barnard asked Mashamaite how the meeting had ended and what happened afterwards.
“The meeting didn’t proceed I was too emotional and it was dismissed.”
Mashamaite confidently pointed at Barnard and said, “This man was there at the meeting and he came to me and told me to calm down because I was extremely angry.”
“I cried, I cry when I’m angry,” he said.
Barnard put it to Mashamaite that would he dispute it if he told him the consultation was recorded.
“No, I wouldn’t,” he replied.
Barnard asked to submit the audio before the court as evidence, his request was quickly objected by Ike Motloung for Mdluli.
“I’m hearing this for the first time, I didn’t know that there was something that was kept somewhere, why wasn’t I told.”
He argued that the recording was unlawful and the witness wasn’t made aware of the recording.
The matter was adjourned to allow Motloung to get the audio and listen to it.
After lunch, Motloung told the court that he listened to the audio in the absence of the witness and he also has some questions which he wants to pose to the State.
“There are questions of authenticity, I want to know if it has been edited or tampered with. I asked the State to provide us with a source of the recording…Where are the other disks of other witnesses and if they are there I should listen to them.”
“If this court has to be fair, why am I not given the recording of Alice Manana….I’m placing om the record that they should prove the authenticity of the recording. They can’t come to cost and ask to play a record,” Motloung said.
The witness was asked to step down to allow the State and the defence to argue over the merits of the audio.
The matter was postponed Thursday.
– African News Agency