The Western Cape High Court watched footage on Tuesday of British businessman Shrien Dewani and his hired driver Zola Tongo meeting to exchange a package at his hotel in 2010.
The video clips of the Cape Grace Hotel were shown while Tongo was testifying for the State against Dewani, who is accused of murdering his wife Anni Dewani.
Tongo told prosecutor Shareen Riley that Dewani had promised to pay him R5000 for his role in his wife’s hijacking and killing on November 13, 2010.
Dewani has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, conspiracy to commit these crimes and defeating the ends of justice.
He claims the couple were hijacked as they were being driven through Gugulethu in Tongo’s minibus on Saturday, November 13. 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.
Tongo said he and Dewani arranged to meet at a gate at the Waterfront on November 16. Dewani apparently did not arrive and they agreed over the phone to meet inside the hotel because reporters were outside.
Tongo slowly approached the hotel and pretended to play on his phone because there were police officers he recognised nearby.
Dewani waited in a hotel passage and signalled for Tongo to follow him to a room.
“The gentleman [Dewani] gave me an envelope in a plastic bag, then he went out and left. I took it and hid it in my waist,” Tongo said.
He said he went to the bathroom, folded the plastic bag, and opened the envelope to count the money.
“There was only R1000. I folded the envelope, being angry. I put it into my back pocket. I held the plastic in my hand because it was small. I went out and looked to the right hand side. I went out and left,” Tongo said.
The video footage seemed to corroborate much of Tongo’s activity.
On the video, at 1.39pm, Dewani strolls with a plastic bag in hand in the hotel. He walks down the hotel corridor while speaking on the phone, stops momentarily before turning and disappearing from sight.
Tongo walks towards the hotel in white clothing and then stands outside, looking at his phone.
At 1.47pm, he enters the hotel. Dewani walks in front of him. The two cameras then went black because they were motion sensitive and did not register activity.
A minute later, the one camera switches back on and Dewani and Tongo are walking in separate directions.
Tongo goes to the bathroom and later leaves the hotel.
He was later interviewed by investigating officer Captain Paul Hendrickse, to whom he gave a second false written statement that he signed.
Tongo appointed lawyer William da Grass after speaking to Hendrickse.
He handed himself to police on November 20, 2010 after his attorney phoned him to say police officers were looking for him.
He was subsequently arrested and gave a statement at the Bellville police station.
“I explained to them what happened. I never lied to them. I told them the truth about everything I could remember… because I did not have peace of mind. I knew that the truth would come out.”
Tongo knew Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni had been arrested by that stage. The three conspired to kill Anni Dewani, allegedly at Shrien Dewani’s instruction.
Mngeni was handed a life sentence for firing the shot that killed Anni Dewani. Qwabe is serving a 25-year jail term, and Tongo 18 years.
Mngeni died from a brain tumour on October 18.
Tongo entered into a plea and sentencing agreement with the State. It was finalised on December 7, 2010.
His testimony would resume on Wednesday. SAPA