Tongo quizzed on hit men names

2014-10-30 12:22
Shrien Dewani in the Western Cape High Court. (Mike Hutchings, AFP)

Shrien Dewani in the Western Cape High Court. (Mike Hutchings, AFP)

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Cape Town - Convicted shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo made a mistake in his initial statement to police when he said Anni Dewani's killers did not introduce themselves to him by name, he told the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

Tongo, aged 34, admitted during cross-examination in Shrien Dewani's murder trial that Mziwamadoda Qwabe introduced himself as "Spra" at their first meeting on 13 November 2010, the day Anni was killed.

During his evidence-in-chief, he said he had saved Qwabe's name under "H" in his cellphone and that he first met him at a bus stop.

But Francois van Zyl, for Dewani, referred to Tongo's statement, where he said he arranged to meet Qwabe at Khaya's Bazaar in Khayelitsha and that when he got into the car Qwabe did not give his name.

"There is a mistake made there. The mistake is that he introduced himself", Tongo replied.

Van Zyl said Tongo had also told police that Xolile Mngeni did not introduce himself by name.

"That was also a mistake", Tongo replied.

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

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

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

Hotel receptionist Monde Mbolombo was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying against his accomplices, while Tongo is serving an 18-year jail term.

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

Van Zyl asked why, if Tonga knew Mngeni and Qwabe's names, did he refer to them as the first and second man in his statement to police on 26 November 2010.

"Why did you run away from their identities?" the lawyer asked.

Tongo said he was not hiding anything. He said they introduced themselves to him but he could not remember their names at that stage.

Van Zyl drove home the point that Tongo had been adamant in his statement that the men did not introduce themselves.

"Are you saying that the police wrote incorrectly?"

Tongo said it was possible.

"As time went on, I remembered their names again. There might have been a mistake there and everyone makes mistakes", Tongo said.

He said police officers were also human and could also make mistakes.

Van Zyl said Tongo's predicament got worse because he saved Qwabe's name under "Spra" as proved by his cellphone records entered as an exhibit.

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

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