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Johannesburg – Jailed former crime-intelligence boss Richard Mdluli and erstwhile colleague Mthembeni Mthunzi have launched a bid to be released from prison.
Close to 10 months since the South Gauteng High Court jailed the pair for five years each, they have returned to the same court to ask for bail.
Judge Ramarumo Monama told their legal representatives on Wednesday that he would hear the application later this month. The matter was heard briefly at the high court in Joburg.
Ike Motloung, Mdluli’s lawyer, told The Star the bail that the pair sought would set them free while the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) decided if it would hear their appeal application.
He said the SCA was petitioned some months ago to hear the appeal application.
Mdluli and Mthunzi sought to appeal the sentences that Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng meted out to them in September last year.
“We filed a petition to the SCA. We await judgment from the SCA on the petition,” said Motloung after yesterday’s brief proceedings.
“What we’re doing now is to apply to be released on bail pending that petition.”
Motloung said given that it had been months since the petition application was made, he believed there was the possibility that the SCA may reply before Judge Monama hears the bail application.
“We’d love to have that (ruling before the bail application hearing),” Motloung said.
An unfavourable ruling to the petition may quash their bail prospects even before Judge Monama hears the matter.
However, Motloung was confident that not only would the petition succeed, but also that there was a chance that the SCA would rule in favour of their appeal application.
“There are prospects that an appeal court may come to a different conclusion,” he said.
Ahead of their sentencing, Mdluli and Mthunzi had pleaded for mercy on various grounds.
These included that they were pensioners and sickly. They are both in their early 60s.
They were imprisoned for crimes they committed in 1998 when they worked from the Vosloorus police station. Judge Mokgoatlheng convicted and sentenced them for kidnapping and assaulting the late Oupa Ramogibe as well as Alice Manana.
Ramogibe was traced after eloping and secretly entering into a civil marriage with Mdluli’s customary law wife, the late Tshidi Buthelezi. He was kidnapped and assaulted.
Manana was kidnapped from her home and forced to point out where Ramogibe and Buthelezi were hiding. She took them to the lovebirds’ hideaway in Orange Farm.
In his sentencing, Judge Mokgoatlheng said the pair abused their power as police officers “in an extremely shocking manner”.