PROCEEDINGS in the trial of one of Anni Dewani’s alleged hitmen had to be unexpectedly postponed yesterday because he felt ill and was ordered to be taken to a district surgeon.
Following the hour-long recess in the Western Cape High Court, Xolile Mngeni’s legal representative, Matthews Dayimani, told Judge Robert Henney that his client – who has a brain tumour – was not well. Dayimani said the court orderly had noticed that Mngeni had vomited blood.
Last year Mngeni was diagnosed as having a tumour, which had spread to the lining of his spinal cord.
Yesterday, Judge Henney ordered that Mngeni be taken to a district surgeon and postponed proceedings to today.
Mngeni, frowning and appearing to tremble slightly, was assisted from the dock.
He has denied kidnapping, robbing and murdering Anni on November 13, 2010, crimes the State believes were orchestrated by her husband Shrien Dewani.
A new witness was to have taken the stand after recess yesterday.
State prosecutor Shareen Riley said there had been attempts to interfere with this witness.
She said “the brother” had offered the witness money if he would leave for the Eastern Cape.
This witness is expected to testify today.
Earlier yesterday, another witness – who may not be named for fear of reprisals – testified that on Sunday, the day Anni’s body was discovered, he had seen Mngeni, who he referred to by his nickname “Watti”, with a silver digital camera. The witness had switched on the camera and seen pictures of a bride and groom, and Mngeni had asked him to delete the images.
After seeing the pictures, the witness said he had seen similar photographs of the same couple on television when a story about the shooting of a tourist had been aired. During cross-examination, and asked how the police had got to him, the witness said: “I am the person who told the police that it is [Mngeni] who did that.”
The witness said the day of Dewani’s murder, he had seen Mngeni in a silver/grey Volkswagen Sharan with two other people.
He had also seen Mngeni carrying a firearm in a plastic bag.
Dayimani put it to the witness that Mngeni would deny being in the vehicle and that he had a firearm at the time the witness had said. He would also deny having met the witness on the Sunday, the day after the murder, and having had a camera on him.
Dayimani said Mngeni had met the witness on the Monday when the witness had wanted to take him to a certain place.
However, the witness said: ”I don’t go to such places … He wanted me to buy him tik and I gave him the money.”
The trial continues today.