Organised Crime Unit boss testifies in Mdluli trial

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Facing questions by Mdluli’s lawyer‚ Ike Motloung‚ Govender told the South Gauteng High Court about how he had received information in 2011 from the office of the then national police commissioner‚ Bheki Cele‚ that Mdluli would be kept at the Boksburg police station.

A string of charges had been laid against Mdluli‚ including attempted murder and assault.

Govender made damning accusations that Colonel Kobus Roelofse‚ who was investigating the matter‚ had told him that Mdluli should not have any visitors during his incarceration.

Govender said he had refused to do this because‚ as an awaiting trial prisoner‚ Mdluli had rights.

Claims by Alice Manana‚ a friend of Mdluli’s customary wife‚ Tshidi Buthelezi‚ were one of the reasons he was arrested.

Manana said she opened an assault case against the crime fighting boss in 1998 and an attempted murder case in 1999.

She claimed to have been assaulted and forced to reveal the whereabouts of Buthelezi‚ who had fled with her lover Oupa Ramogibe.

The couple had been with Ramogibe’s relatives in Orange Farm.

The records of Manana’s assault case were‚ however‚ never found and there was no paper trail to show that a case had been opened or investigated.

A statement by Warrant Officer Joseph Israel‚ taken in 2011‚ revealed that Govender had approached him a day or two after he had received the assault docket.

Israel alleged that Govender told him he did not have the authority to investigate Mdluli because he was an officer. He said he had then handed the assault docket and all its contents to Govender and he’d never seen it again.

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Deon Barnard‚ Govender initially denied ever receiving such a docket‚ adding that it was impossible for there not to be a case reference number.

But after vigorous cross-examination‚ he conceded that it was possible that he had received the docket.

The court heard that the investigating officer had never taken a statement from Govender about the missing docket because he was suspected to have been a close friend of Mdluli’s.

Govender refuted these claims‚ stating that he and Mdluli had a professional relationship.

Witnesses‚ who are friends and relatives of Buthelezi and Ramogibe‚ have alleged they were terrorised by Mdluli and Mthunzi.

Ramogibe had entered in to a civil union with Buthelezi after Mdluli had paid lobola for her.

Ramogibe had told police that he had received death threats. He was shot dead in February 1999.

While Mdluli was initially a suspect‚ he was cleared of any charges.

Govender‚ who took the stand as the defence’s witness‚ has had his own controversies in the past.

The brigadier faced revolt from officers whom he headed at the Boksburg police station. They accused Govender of corruption and had called for his removal. Allegations of him being involved in a shady loan shark business also surfaced.

He faced a disciplinary hearing‚ the outcomes of which were unclear.

Several months after the disciplinary hearing‚ he was promoted to the position of acting head of the Organised Crime Unit of the Hawks.

The case continues.

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