13 April 2024 | 09:16 AM

Spy boss alerted Zuma about ‘plot’

Key Takeaways

The “top secret” dossier that Richard Mdluli sent to President Jacob Zuma in November explains why he believes there is plot against him — and why Zuma should intervene.

The dossier includes details of a police counterintelligence operation which supposedly exposed this plot and an internal report which purports to clear Mdluli, the head of crime intelligence, of involvement in the 1999 murder of Oupa Abel Ramogibe.

The 52-year-old spy boss also dismisses allegations that he was involved in a love triangle with Ramogibe’s wife, Tshidi Buthelezi.

“I must categorically point out that I was never involved in this triangle,” Mdluli says in his covering letter, titled “Victimisation and abuse of state resources against the divisional commissioner of crime intelligence”.

This appears to contradict evidence, including that from sources close to Mdluli, that he had a child with Buthelezi before she married Ramogibe.

The internal report cited by Mdluli was conducted by Limpopo’s deputy provincial commissioner, Major General Benny Ntlemeza, acting on a mandate from Mdluli himself.

The report points to a “plot” within crime intelligence to derail Mdluli’s appointment in July 2009.

He tells Zuma that shortly after taking up his post he received information that junior crime intelligence members were assigned by Mpumalanga provincial commissioner Afrika Khumalo to gather intelligence on him over the alleged “love triangle”.

Khumalo, who died last August, was implicated in an international drug-smuggling racket during the corruption case against the disgraced former national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi.

Mdluli claims other contenders for his post had started trying to get rid of him.

Although Mdluli claims two investigations into his involvement in the murder of Ramogibe exonerated him, he outlines how he discovered that one of his men had recently been asked “to reconsider” a statement he made about the murder in 1999.

“This change would subsequently incriminate Colonel Ximba and me,” he says.

His colleague, Nkosana Ximba (alias “Killer”), has also been arrested in connection with Ramogibe’s murder.

“This is something for which I was exonerated on two previous occasions. And yet there are two of my senior members who competed with me for this position who go around stating that they will ensure that I be removed from the post of divisional commissioner: crime intelligence.

“These are the very same members that were involved in negative campaigning at the ANC conference in Polokwane during 2007. They were in the camp of the former president and are now trying to take control of the intelligence environment within the police by devious tactics.”

Mdluli writes that he finds it “very disturbing and embarrassing to find that I have been investigated for no apparent reason, especially when initiated by persons who have proven themselves to be disloyal.

“I must also at this stage state that, although I might not have gone outside and become actively involved in the Struggle, I was active in many other areas. I was and am still a loyal ANC member.”

Mdluli says he had tightened up on expenditure and on payment of sources to prevent the abuse of state funds for “ulterior motives related to the 2012 build-up to the [ANC] conference”.

“It is worrying that after dealing with the Mphego issue, we still have to deal with supposedly our people who are senior officers in an intelligence environment that are still fighting personal agendas,” he writes.

“The question now arises: what and how do they want to use the intelligence environment to affect the 2012 build-up to the ANC conference? Do they want to follow the Mphego style and try and derail the ANC?

“I have requested an independent body to investigate these individuals with a view to uncovering their plots. These senior ‘loyal’ members were also active with the interceptions on [Minister of State Security Siyabonga] Cwele’s wife. It is important to note that members of the erstwhile Scorpions are involved in these activities against me.”

Mdluli is referring to former crime intelligence head Mulangi Mphego, accused of defeating the ends of justice by producing an affidavit by convicted drug-trafficker Glenn Agliotti that aimed to absolve Selebi of wrongdoing.

Charges against him were later withdrawn.

Mdluli’s other reference is to Cwele’s wife, Sheryl, currently on trial for drug-trafficking.

In his letter Mdluli asks that “a decision be taken to resolve this issue and if needs be to appoint an independent person to address these so-called loyalists and their associates”.

The Ntlemeza report, signed in January 2010, looked into alleged irregularities of crime intelligence officers involved in investigating Mdluli.

It touches on the murder of Ramogibe, which occurred while Mdluli was a senior officer in Vosloorus.

The findings by Ntlemeza include:

  • The “plotters” used state resources to achieve their goal and had tasked warrant officers Pat Magabe and Tom Rikhotso from crime intelligence to find evidence against Mdluli without informing their commanders.

Rikhotso gave a statement denying he was tasked to investigate Mdluli. “I will never ever in my life investigate him nor act negatively against him. I am employed as a policeman today because of him,” Rikhotso wrote.

Magabe would not make a statement, Ntlemeza revealed. Both men later claimed they were victimised by Mdluli.

  • The main architect of the plot was Khumalo, but Ntlemeza believed he might have worked with others at the crime intelligence head office.
  • Ntlemeza said he deduced that, because Ramogibe’s family would not cooperate with Magabe and Rikhotso, the solution had been to take a story to the Sowetan newspaper.
  • Allegations that members of Ramogibe’s family were being offered money to cooperate were contained in SMSes gathered during Ntlemeza’s investigation.The SMSes originated from a Vosloorus informer, who was the first to tip off crime intelligence about the investigation by Magabe and Rikhotso.

    One SMS claimed: “I want to talk but I don’t trust anyone in the SAPS. Poor families of the deceased have been solicited to testify against Killer, and have been promised compensation.”

    Another, apparently sent to Mdluli, read: “I’m blackmailed by some cops who were allegedly tasked by Chief Africa to find incriminating evidence about U and Killer. Their ammunition dates back to the 90’s (sic). yesterday they looked 4 case numbers of a man who died in custody — a man who was allegedly killed by killer. they looked 4 a serial number of a gun that was used. they promised to compensate.”

  • A senior superintendent, Marthinus Botha, gave a statement saying that when he was area commissioner for the East Rand he was asked to investigate the Ramogibe murder case in Vosloorus.”During the investigation of the case allegations were made that members of Vosloorus detectives were involved in the killing of the deceased,” he said.

    One of the people mentioned was Mdluli, at the time commander of the Vosloorus detective service. “These allegations were investigated and at no stage could I find any witnesses to give any evidence or statements to prove these allegations or any other information to link divisional commissioner R Mdluli with the death of the deceased, or that he was at any stage involved in the killing or planning of the murder.”

The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, supported by M&G Media and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, produced this story. All views are the centre’s. www.amabhungane.co.za.

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amaBhungane

Before joining the amaBhungane team in 2017, Micah was the national coordinator for media freedom and diversity at the Right2Know Campaign. He holds a Masters in African Studies from Oxford University and a BA Honours in History from Wits University.

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