25 March 2023 | 01:44 PM

The suspended head of crime intelligence, Richard Mdluli, would not have been promoted if he were a criminal, his former superior has testified.

Key Takeaways

Colonel Johannes Manyathela – who was the acting station commissioner at Vosloorus police station at the time of Oupa Ramogibe’s death – said this at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday as the third week of the inquiry into the death of Ramogibe continued.

During his cross-examination by Mdluli’s lawyer Ike Motloung, Manyathela admitted that thorough background checks are done on all prospective candidates before they ascend into higher ranks of the police force.

He agreed when Motloung said: “A promotion doesn’t go through if something is wrong.”

But Motloung said Manyathela believed Mdluli was a criminal based purely on a conversation he had with three members of the Ramogibe family the day after the murder.

Last Friday, Manyathela had told the court he believed the Ramogibes when they told him that Mdluli had threatened the deceased and was therefore clearly the one behind his death.

But on Monday, Manyathela conceded he was not a witness to the crime and he knows nothing about the murder.

He disagreed with Motloung who said that if he had suspected Mdluli of the crime in 1999, he should have submitted a statement at the time saying so, otherwise he should be charged with neglecting his duties and failing to report a suspected crime.

Manyathela only wrote a police statement last year.

No recollection

Manyathela said he was under the impression an impartial detective had been put on the case and would handle the matter, and he had already alerted East Rand area commissioner Leonard van Tonder of the Ramogibes’ suspicions.

But in a statement read out in court, Van Tonder said he had no recollection of the Ramogibe murder case and does not remember liaising with Manyathela in any way with regards to the matter.

Clearly taking strain, Manyathela requested “a five minute break”.

On his return, he said was neither fearful nor intimidated by Mdluli and personally had no knowledge of a so-called “Mdluli gang”.

Before proceedings were adjourned for the day, Limpopo’s divisional commissioner Benny Ntlemeza told the court the resuscitation of Ramogibe’s murder case was a clear plot to prevent Mdluli from taking over the reins as head of crime intelligence.

Ntlemeza will continue testifying on Tuesday.

The inquest is set to determine whether criminal charges should be re-lodged against Mdluli and his former co-accused Colonel Nkosana Ximba, Liutenant Colonel Mtunzi-Omhle Mtuzni and Warrant Officer Samuel Dlomo.

This story was first published by the Mail & Guardian Online on September 17 2012.

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The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit initiative to develop investigative journalism in the public interest, produced this story. All views are ours. See www.amabhungane.co.za for all our stories, activities and sources of funding.

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Aisha Abdool Karim

Aisha is a freelance science and health reporter. She is joining the amaB team to work on a project about water and sanitation. Aisha’s passion for long-form narrative and investigative journalism was sparked while doing her master’s degree at Columbia University in New York. After graduating in 2018, she returned to South Africa and began working as a general beat reporter for the Daily Maverick. Aisha joined the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism in 2020 to focus on science reporting. During her time there, she covered the COVID-19 pandemic extensively — from fact-checking harmful medical misinformation to unpacking the science behind vaccine development. Aisha’s special interests include analysing health systems and in-depth coverage of public health issues and infectious diseases. She also loves spreadsheets and digging through data.

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