Marcus Nndateni Mulaudzi spent ten years in jail when he was told he had been acquitted of murdering a prominent school principal and was free.
“I didn’t know what to do when I was told I was a free man. I was so scared, I thought it wasn’t me and I stood at my cell for a while because I was still in disbelief – so I decided to just pack my library books that I was using and then I was told again that I had to leave and that a car was waiting for me,” he said.
According SABreakingNews Mulaudzi had to swop one of his main possessions in prison, which was a radio, for casual clothes to wear for his release. His cousin had always believed in his innocence, so upon his release had arranged for a lift.
“My cousin had sent someone to pick me up and then I went straight home.
“The first thing I noticed when I was released was that everything was so new. It took me time to recognise people.”
“I wasn’t aware that my case was being heard in court and I never thought the day would come for the authorities to listen to my case again, I had lost hope,” he told News24 in an interview at Budeli village near Thohoyandou,” he added.
In an unprecedented move, the judges of the SCA delivered their ruling on the same day that arguments were heard. Mulaudzi was freed the next day.
“I will never forget the day I was told I was a free man, but I always knew that if the [Supreme Court of Appeal] heard my case I would be acquitted,”
Mulaudzi told News24.
“I will never forget May 6.”
He was convicted back in 2006 by the Limpopo High Court with his co-accused, Tshimangadzo Leroy Mushewu. He was said to be an accomplice in the killing of principal, taxi owner and ANC leader Shavhani Ramusetheli.
He was sentenced to life in prison for murder and 10 years for robbery, according to reports.
However, the SCA found that Mushewu, who testified against Mulaudzi, was a poor witness. The said he went to “great lengths not only to minimise his role at the expense of the appellant but also to exonerate himself”.
“I was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for something I never did. The first accused was never my friend and on the evening of the murder, I had parked my employer’s taxi and I went home, so I was very confused when I was arrested,” he said.
“The first few years in prison were horrible because I couldn’t accept the conviction. I kept asking myself why I was convicted for something I never did – I even blamed God for what had happened to me. It was also very hard seeing the first accused in prison. I don’t think I will ever forgive him.”
He said he learned that his wife left with his 18-year-old daughter when he arrived at home on the day he was released, but his 23-year-old son stayed behind with his grandmother.
“I did a lot of things in order to adjust to the environment but now that I am a free man I will have to find a job and not depend on my mother financially.”