One of Anni Dewani’s convicted killers Mziwamadoda Qwabe wanted an earlier parole date in exchange for testifying against her husband Shrien Dewani, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.
Francois van Zyl, for Shrien Dewani, asked Qwabe during cross-examination whether he demanded anything from the State before being called as its second witness last week Wednesday.
Qwabe confirmed he had previously testified against his accomplice and convicted gunman Xolile Mngeni and wanted to know “what is in it for me?” with Dewani’s trial.
Dewani is accused of masterminding the murder of his wife during their honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010. He has pleaded not guilty to the five counts against him, maintaining that the couple were the victims of a hijacking in Gugulethu, Cape Town, on November 13, 2010.
Xolile Mngeni is serving life in jail for pulling the trigger, while Qwabe is serving a 25-year jail term, and shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo 18 years.
Van Zyl said Qwabe recently used a Legal Aid lawyer to write a letter to prosecutor Adrian Mopp, asking him to consider that he be eligible for parole after serving half of his 25-year sentence, not two-thirds as ordered by the high court.
When he pleaded guilty in the high court as part of a plea bargain in 2012, Qwabe said his willingness to provide evidence against accomplices was a mitigating factor for sentencing.
Van Zyl said he received this letter from Mopp, as well as the reply from the director of public prosecutions.
Reading out a portion of the reply, Van Zyl said the State stated it could not provide any guarantees or influence the outcome of the process.
However, at the conclusion of the trial, it could report to the correctional services department on the court’s findings on his testimony and his co-operation.
Van Zyl reminded Qwabe that receiving earlier eligibility for parole would rely on his co-operation and compliance.
He was excused from the stand by Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso. SAPA