Dewani wanted to be hijacked, Anni killed - Tongo

2014-10-27 19:04
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Cape Town - British businessman Shrien Dewani wanted to be hijacked in Cape Town in 2010 and his wife to be killed in the process, his shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo told the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

"The gentleman said he wants a car to be hijacked," Zola Tongo, 34, the State's 12th witness, explained to questions from prosecutor Shareen Riley.

"They must be robbed, that they must drop me along the way and they must also drop him along the way, and then they must kill his wife, but he said kill a woman."

Speaking through a translator, Tongo said Dewani conveyed this to him on 13 November 2010, while he was driving him back to his hotel after exchanging the "hit money" from dollars to rands.

Tongo, said he did not initially know when the job had to be done, but Dewani explained certain details to him.

Francois van Zyl, for Dewani, intervened and said Tongo had initially said wife, then woman. The translator conceded it was her mistake, not Tongo's.

Tongo told Dewani he would pick him up at 19:30, take them around the Waterfront, and then drive to a busy township called Gugulethu.

In the meantime, Tongo arranged to meet hotel receptionist and middleman Monde Mbolombo, and "Spra", better known as Mziwamadoda Qwabe.

Mbolombo testified during convicted gunman Xolile Mngeni's trial and was granted immunity from prosecution. Mngeni was sentenced to life in jail.

Mngeni died from a brain tumour on 18 October.

Qwabe was sentenced to 25 years in prison and Tongo, 18 years for their role in killing Anni Hindocha.

Dewani is accused of the murder of his wife during their honeymoon in Cape Town. He has pleaded not guilty to murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, conspiracy to commit these crimes and defeating the ends of justice.

Dewani claims the couple were hijacked as they were being driven through Gugulethu in a minibus on Saturday, 13 November 2010. He was released unharmed and Anni driven away. She was found shot dead in the abandoned minibus in Khayelitsha the next morning.

The State alleges he conspired with others to stage the hijacking in return for R15 000.

‘Another job’

Earlier Toga said when he first met Dewani he gave him a business card, hoping he might use him as a tour guide.

"While standing behind the car making sure or confirming whether I was getting a job, he said to me he is having a job for me. I must just wait there at the parking.

"Those were good news [sic]. I just decided hunger is over now. I went to park in the parking area, waiting," Tongo said, through a translator.

Dewani came back alone, less than 10 minutes after checking in.

Tongo said he was told the job would help his business grow and that he would get many referrals.

He explained to Tongo that part of the job involved someone being "removed from out of sight".

Tongo said he was not involved in such jobs but knew someone who might have the relevant contacts.

Asked whether he knew who must be killed, Tongo said: "He explained to me, my lady, that it is his business, or somebody who is in business with him, and that person will be arriving the following day".

He knew at that stage it was a woman.

"He explained to me that he is going to pay an amount of R15 000 and when the job is finished I am going to get my payment or my remuneration of R5 000, and then we parted ways on that score."

The pair apparently swapped numbers.

Discussion

Tongo told the court that he met Qwabe and Mngeni in Khayelitsha and they discussed the job in his car.

"I said to them, the gentleman, he wants his business partner to be killed and that business partner was going to arrive that day. He wants it to be something like a hijacking."

The hitmen were to wait at a T-junction in Gugulethu for him, close to popular township eatery Mzoli's Place.

He told them the hit money had been changed from US dollars into rands and then they parted. One of the men said they were going to look for his stick or "kirrie", township slang for a gun.

Tongo said he spent time with his girlfriend that Saturday and was already running late.

Dewani apparently phoned him to ask where he was and he replied he was late, but on his way.

Tongo tried phoning his pastor but he did not answer his phone.

He tried to phone a colleague to see whether he would pick the couple up from the hotel instead.

Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso asked him why he would do that if the plan included him.

"My knees were shaking and I was scared... I am saying my lady: I knew if Ta Vuks [the colleague] goes there, what is supposed to happen is not going to happen."

His colleague was busy and he went to the hotel himself. Once there, he cleaned his car and set the child lock on the doors.

He then sent a message to Dewani to say he had arrived at the hotel.

Tongo took the couple to Gugulethu, but he could not see the hitmen. He suggested to the couple that they go to a restaurant on the beach at Somerset West.

He received a call from Qwabe, who apologised for not meeting at the agreed spot, citing transport troubles.

The two spoke in isiXhosa.

A police vehicle passed while they were speaking on the phone and an officer pointed a finger at him for using his phone while driving.

He said Dewani made eye contact with him via the rear-view mirror and seemed to have big eyes, as though he was worried and upset about the plan not happening.

Tongo's testimony would resume on Tuesday morning.

Read more on:    anni hindocha  |  shrien dewani  |  cape town  |  dewani trial

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