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XOLILE Mngeni left a friend’s home in Khayelitsha hours before Anni Dewani was murdered. Outside, he spotted a grey vehicle and a man who later turned out to be one of her killers.
After a brief encounter with this man – Mziwamadoda Qwabe, who last month pleaded guilty to his role in Dewani’s murder – Mngeni only saw him again the next day.
This emerged as Mngeni’s version of the events that unfolded on the day Anni was murdered, when his legal representative Matthews Dayimani cross-examined Qwabe in the Cape Town High Court last week. Mngeni’s version contradicts Qwabe’s.
And both their versions of what happened differ from that of Zola Tongo, the chauffeur who pleaded guilty soon after Dewani’s murder.
Qwabe testified in Mngeni’s trial last week and pointed to Mngeni as his counterpart who was present during discussions about Dewani’s murder, and as the one who shot her on November 13, 2010.
However, during the cross-examination, Dayimani put it to Qwabe that Mngeni would deny having been with Qwabe and Tongo that day and night.
Dayimani told Qwabe that Mngeni would say that on the afternoon of Dewani’s murder he had been at a friend’s house in Sidima Circle, Khayelitsha.
“He had then met you,” Dayimani said.
He said Mngeni would say Qwabe had called to him and asked if he had buyers for a cellphone Qwabe was planning to sell. Dayimani said that according to Mngeni, he had not seen or heard from Qwabe again until the next day when Qwabe approached him with two cellphones and a watch, items Mngeni did not know were stolen.
Qwabe had said that on the night of the murder, he and Mngeni got a lift to Gugulethu where they were supposed to “hijack” Tongo’s vehicle in which Anni and husband Shrien Dewani, accused of masterminding the crimes, were being driven around. Qwabe said Mngeni had stopped the vehicle and drawn a gun.
According to Qwabe, after Tongo and Dewani were made to get out the vehicle, he then drove away and was shocked when Mngeni shot Anni Dewani in the back seat.
During the cross-examination, Dayimani pointed out that Qwabe’s version also differed from Tongo’s.
Dayimani, referring to statements Tongo made to police, said that when the “hijacking” was being carried out, Tongo saw two men, each with a firearm, coming towards his vehicle from the front.
However, Qwabe had insisted Mngeni was the only one who was armed.
Dayimani read from one of Tongo’s statements: “The first man got into the driver’s seat and pushed me over to the passenger seat. The second man got into the back of the vehicle with Dewani and the lady.”
Tongo had said the driver had held a firearm to his head.
Last week, a glimpse of Shrien Dewani’s version of events emerged when Dayimani read out a portion of an affidavit made by a police constable from the Harare police station, who had taken a statement from Shrien after the murder.
According to this affidavit, Shrien Dewani said that during the “hijacking”, one of the two men who had stopped the vehicle he and Anni were in climbed into it and sat with his back towards the driver while he robbed them.
The trial continues today.