Tongo questioned over second name

2014-10-29 19:08
(File: AFP)

(File: AFP)

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Cape Town - One of Anni Hindocha's killers, shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo, was adamant he did not like being called by his middle name Robert, he told the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

Tongo, 34, the State's 12th witness, said he used to be an employee of tour operator Platinum Escapes and his employer Christo van Vuuren called him Robert.

"I never introduced myself as Robert. Christo is the only person who calls me Robert and he also knows I don't like that," Tongo said.

He was being cross-examined by Francois van Zyl, for Shrien Dewani, who is on trial on a charge of murdering his wife Anni.

Van Zyl asked him what his friend and hotel receptionist Monde Mbolombo called him. He replied "Zola". The lawyer asked if he was sure and he said yes.

Van Zyl said in his evidence-in-chief, Tongo said he did not like being called Robert and never introduced himself with that name.

This seemed to contradict what his client said in his plea explanation; that Tongo introduced himself to Dewani as Robert.

Van Zyl said Mbolombo saved Tongo's number on his phone as Robert.

"It surprises me, but Monde knew my second name. But he was calling me Zola."

The lawyer put it to Tongo that his evidence was a lie.

"If it makes you feel good that I am lying... then I am a liar," he said.

The public gallery laughed.

Dewani is accused of the murder of his wife during their honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of 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 Tongo's 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.

Mbolombo granted immunity

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

Mbolombo was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying against his accomplices.

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

It emerged during cross-examination that Tongo left Platinum Escapes and started a similar business without being licensed as a tour guide.

Tongo said he asked Dewani and his wife where they were from. They told him they were from the United Kingdom. They did not mention they were on honeymoon nor how long they were in Cape Town for.

Van Zyl said it was surely important to find out whether they were on business or on holiday before suggesting tour outings.

Tongo said he was expecting that to come up while they were driving.

He usually gave people all the information about attractions in the beginning so they would have the information if they wanted to go there later.

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

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