The strange events leading to Anni’s killingComment on this story
Cape Town - While honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani has repeatedly denied being involved in killing his wife, Anni, the Western Cape High Court has heard a different tale.
After the murder, two self-confessed hit men gave blow-by-blow accounts of what they say happened that fateful November 2010 evening.
They are Zola Tongo, 34, and Mziwamadoda Lennox Qwabe, 29. This is what they alleged:
Tongo freelanced as an airport shuttle driver in Cape Town in 2010, using his private vehicle to transport clients.
According to him, he met Dewani and his wife at the airport on November 12, 2010 and took them to the Cape Grace Hotel.
At the hotel, Dewani asked him if he knew anyone who could “have a client of his taken off the scene”.
After some discussion, Tongo understood this to mean that Dewani wanted a woman killed and was willing to pay R15 000 for this to happen.
He also asked if Tongo knew where he could exchange US dollars for rands without producing his passport.
Tongo, in dire need of the money, discussed the proposal with a friend, Monde Mbolombo, who turned State witness, to ask if he could recruit a gunman.
Mbolombo wanted R5 000 and put him in touch with Qwabe, who was to be paid R10 000.
The next day, after he took Dewani to Greenmarket Square to exchange the US dollars, they planned the hit.
It was decided they would fake a hijacking, during which they would be “ejected” from the car unharmed. For his help, Tongo would be paid R5 000.
During the course of the afternoon, Tongo met Qwabe, now aged 29, and Xolile “Wattie” Mngeni in Khayelitsha.
Qwabe asked for the money to be left in the cubbyhole, and said they would take Tongo’s phone during the “hijacking”.
That evening, Tongo ran late and fetched an already agitated Dewani and his wife at the hotel at 10pm – two-and-a-half hours later than planned.
He took them around some city sights before driving in the direction of Gugulethu.
However, when they arrived at the agreed location, Mngeni and Qwabe were not there.
Tongo moved on to the N2, in the direction of Somerset West, and drove to a restaurant in the Strand, where the couple had supper.
On the way back to Cape Town, Tongo drove to the agreed spot, where Mngeni and Qwabe were waiting.
Mngeni positioned himself in the front of the vehicle, while Qwabe was at the driver’s door, holding a firearm.
Qwabe got in at the driver’s side, and Mngeni got in at the back.
The couple were made to lie down on the back seat, and Qwabe then drove off.
Qwabe travelled for a short distance before he stopped near the police barracks in Gugulethu, where Tongo was told to get out of the vehicle.
Dewani was ordered to get out of the car near Kuyasa.
As Qwabe continued along Mew Way, Khayelitsha, Mngeni shot Anni in the neck.
They parked the car in Ilitha Park, Khayelitsha, removed the bullet casing and threw it into a stormwater drain as they fled on foot.
Qwabe wore yellow gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints.
The following day, Mngeni dropped the firearm at Qwabe’s home, and Qwabe arranged for a friend to keep it.
Three days later, Dewani and Tongo met at the hotel, where he was paid R1 000.
In December 2010, Tongo was sentenced to five years for kidnapping, 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, five years for obstructing the administration of justice, and 25 years, of which seven were suspended, for murder.
Since the sentences were ordered to run concurrently, Tongo’s effective sentence amounts to 18 years.
In August 2012, Qwabe was sentenced to five years for kidnapping, 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, five years for the unlawful possession of a firearm and 25 years for murder.
Since the sentences were ordered to run concurrently, his jail time was 25 years.
Both Qwabe and Tongo have indicated they would testify for the State.
Mngeni denied involvement in the killing and in December 2012, after the finalisation of his trial, he was convicted of Anni’s murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Mbolombo was indemnified from prosecution after testifying for the State.