Recording casts doubt on Mdluli’s defence witness

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Warrant Officer Solomon Mashamaite had on Wednesday testified that ten years after he responded to an attempted murder scene‚ he was called into the Hawks office to help with an official investigation into the matter.

The victim was Alice Manana‚ a friend of Mdluli’s customary wife‚ Tshidi Buthelezi who had been wounded in a drive-by shooting.

Mashamaite said when he arrived at the Hawks office‚ prosecutors Deon Barnard and Zaais van Zyl‚ investigating officer Kobus Roelofse‚ a coloured man‚ a black woman named Kholeka and two white women were present.

He claimed that after numerous questions from those present in the meeting‚ Kholeka had accused him of trying to protect General Mdluli‚ who had been suspected of putting out the hit on Manana.

Mashamaite said he was intimidated and threatened with being charged with defeating the ends of justice.

“I was so angry to the point where I began to cry. I said to her‚ because of such questioning‚ that will be the reason that I am killed and If you find my head in one place and my body in another‚ [it is] because you want me to say certain things‚” Mashamaite said.

But the prosecution threw a spanner in the works‚ saying they had recorded the entire meeting.

After arguments about the authenticity of the recording‚ it was eventually played to the court on Thursday. In the recording‚ Mdluli’s name is never mentioned.

Mashamaite was instead heard saying that Manana had informed him that she had not seen the shooter but she had suspected that it was a police officer from Vosloorus.

“I think the family of that woman or the woman herself said that he is dangerous that man. Something of this person being a high ranking officer‚” Mashamaite was heard saying.

At the time‚ he had been positioned at the Dawn Park police station while Mdluli was the head of the Vosloorus police station.

The so-called confrontation Mashamaite had with Kholeka was also not heard on the recording.

Instead‚ he was heard telling Kholeka that his tone made him “scared”.

Returning to the stand‚ Mashamaite said he had been unaware that the consultation had been recorded.

“I am not saying that there were portions edited but with due respect‚ there are things which were said but cannot be heard on the recording‚” Mashamaite said.

Ike Motloung‚ for Mdluli‚ tried to discredit the recording‚ saying it was possible that it had been tampered with.

Judge Rata Mokgoatlheng‚ however‚ was not convinced.

He replayed the audio‚ saying he wanted to “make out whether there is a sequence in the discussions”.

Mdluli is currently on trial alongside former policeman‚ Mthembeni Mthunzi.

The pair face charges of intimidation‚ kidnapping and assault of friends and family of Buthelezi and her lover Oupa Ramogibe.

They have also been charged with defeating the ends of justice.

Mdluli had paid lobola for Buthelezi who was also the mother of his child.

It later emerged‚ however‚ that Buthelezi had gotten into a relationship with Ramogibe and the pair later secretly married.

Ramogibe was later shot dead on February 17‚ 1999. This was shortly after reporting to police that he had received death threats‚

Mdluli‚ was initially a suspect in Ramogibe’s murder but was later cleared following an inquest.

Manana however‚ claimed that in the 90s‚ Mdluli had come to her home with Mthunzi where they assaulted her‚ demanding that she reveal the whereabouts of Buthelezi and Ramogibe.

She took them to the couple’s hideout and claimed to have later opened a case of assault.

The docket‚ however‚ was never found.

Mdluli and Mthunzi have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Mdluli claims that all this was a conspiracy to block him from progressing in his career.

The case continues.

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