It was the turn of the State to cross-examine Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli’s defence witness, retired Detective Warrant Officer David Makuma on Thursday in the South Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg.
Mdluli and Colonel Mthembeni Mthunzi face five counts of intimidation, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of assault with the intent to commit grievous bodily harm and one count of defeating the ends of justice on Oupa Ramogibe.
Ramogibe was in a civil marriage to Tshidi Buthelezi, who was simultaneously in a customary marriage with Mdluli.
Ramogibe was killed in an apparent ambush on February 17‚ 1999, in Vosloorus while pointing out to police the scene where he had been shot several weeks earlier as he was walking.
Damning testimony from a statement by Oupa’s relative Michael Ramogibe – introduced into evidence by, and strenuously opposed by, Mdluli’s own lawyer – emerged during the cross examination.
Michael’s statement – taken by Makuma – noted Mdluli had visited his house looking for Oupa, and told him Oupa had laid a charge against him saying “that I have missed him with a firearm. So now I’m going to kill him and he is going to die.”
On Wednesday, Makuma testified he had been offered a promotion and transfers if he gave a statement implicating Mdluli in Ramogibe’s murder.
He told the court he had informed his superior about three visits from people claiming to be police members from the Cape wanting the statement, but could not explain why he had not told his commander about the attempted bribery.
Makuma said he had not charged them with corruption as they were the people who had arrested Mdluli and “how was I going stand in front of them.”
It’s been a marathon trial, having started in June 2015, and although Makuma was supposed to be the last witness, it’s nowhere near finished yet as the State wants to apply to reopen the case, and the defence is preparing a “substantive” motion to try and force the State to reveal more of the police docket in this matter.
The trial was adjourned until Friday for two more witnesses to testify.