Convicted shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo did not know how honeymooner Anni Dewani would be killed even though he heard his accomplices talking about firearms, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.
“As to what was going to happen, where and how, whether she was going to be shot, whether she was going to be stabbed, whether she was going to be strangled, I don’t know and I was not there at the time,” Tongo told the court in Xhosa.
He was being cross-examined by Francois van Zyl, for Anni’s husband Shrien Dewani.
Dewani is on trial for allegedly plotting with Tongo and others to kill Anni while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.
He has pleaded not guilty to charges including kidnapping, murder, and defeating the ends of justice.
He claims the couple were hijacked as Tongo was driving them through Gugulethu in his 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 is serving an 18-year jail term.
Middleman Monde Mbolombo, a hotel receptionist, 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 on October 18. Mziwamadoda Qwabe is serving a 25-year jail term.
The defence’s case was that the way in which Anni was shot was not an execution-style killing.
Van Zyl said Qwabe had recently testified that he drove Anni into a residential area and there was a bushy area not far from there.
Tongo re-iterated that he was not present at that time and had already been dropped off earlier as part of the plan.
Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso said he surely must have known that Anni would, in all probability, have been shot.
Tongo replied that he knew she was going to be killed but the group never decided on a method.
This was despite hearing one of the men saying he was going to look for his ‘kierie’, township slang for a firearm.
“Mr Tongo, the accused will tell this court that he never conspired with you or anybody else to kill his wife or to harm his wife. I presume you will say he did,” Van Zyl said.
Tongo said these were lies.
“The accused will also say that he doesn’t know what really happened or what went down here. Maybe you and your friends saw them as easy targets… or you had a more sinister motive,” the lawyer added.
Tongo repeated that Dewani was lying.
Van Zyl said his client had no idea why Tongo would lie about his client being involved in his wife’s murder.
“It is not that he is involved. He is the actual one who gave the instruction as to what must happen… That is why Monde is saying we are five [men],” Tongo replied. SAPA