Mbolombo was told hit details, court hears

2014-11-06 21:34
(File: AFP)

(File: AFP)

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Cape Town - Hotel receptionist Monde Mbolombo was told about a foreigner who wanted his wife killed and it was not the first time he had arranged a killing in South Africa, the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday.

Mbolombo told prosecutor Shareen Riley that his friend and taxi driver Zola Tongo told him on 13 November 2010, that the tourist had approached him the day before at the airport.

Mbolombo met Tongo in his shuttle taxi that day to get more details about the alleged hit. He later knew the tourist as British businessman Shrien Dewani.

As they were speaking, Dewani apparently phoned Tongo and wanted to know where he was.

"Zola then put the phone down and said 'eish, this gentleman doesn't trust me'," Mbolombo said during Dewani's trial.

"He [Dewani] went on further to say that it was not the first time he did this. He did this before in South Africa. And just like now, he wants to do it again but it should appear as if it is a fake hijacking."

Dewani is on trial for the murder of his wife Anni during their honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010. He has pleaded not guilty to the five counts against him, maintaining the couple were the victims of a hijacking on 13 November 2010.

Anni's body was found in Tongo's abandoned shuttle taxi in Khayelitsha the following day.

The State alleges Dewani paid R15 000 to have the hijacking staged.

Tongo is serving an 18-year jail term and Qwabe a 25-year term. Xolile Mngeni was serving life in jail for firing the shot that killed Anni, but died in prison from a brain tumour on 18 October.

Mbolombo apparently discussed the money with Tongo the day of the killing and asked for a R5 000 commission, but Tongo did not reply.

Payment to the hitmen

Tongo told him he would put the R15 000 for the hitmen in his minibus, contradicting other versions put before the court that it was agreed Dewani would put the money in the vehicle.

Tongo said he would be driving the couple to a restaurant in Somerset West that evening.

Qwabe could not reach Tongo by phone.

He told Mbolombo on the phone that the plan was to drop Tongo and the husband off, drive off with the wife and then take the vehicle to Khayelitsha. The vehicle would be washed in Khayelitsha.

Mbolombo heard nothing more and tried phoning Tongo the next day to find out whether the plan had gone ahead.

Qwabe visited him in the morning and confirmed it had. He was very angry because he said Tongo short-changed them by R5 000.

He was looking for Tongo but Mbolombo did not know where he was.

Tongo contacted him on 17 November 2010 from his girlfriend's phone and told him what happened.

"As I was speaking to Zola and I told him Abongile [Qwabe] is looking for you, he said to me: Get away from those guys. Those guys are very dangerous," Mbolombo said.

Mbolombo said he never received a commission.

During Mngeni's trial in 2012, he was granted immunity from prosecution on two charges - conspiracy to commit murder and illegal possession of ammunition.

He faced five charges in Dewani's trial.

"I am not satisfied as I sit here yet, I might be at a later stage, that the indemnity granted to you by Judge Henney, applies to this case as well," Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso told him on Thursday.

"At a later stage I would ask counsel to address me on that aspect."

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

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