Mziwamadoda Qwabe was called as the State’s second witness in her husband Shrien Dewani’s trial in the Western Cape High Court.
The State alleges Dewani conspired with Qwabe and other men to have her killed for R15,000. Dewani has pleaded not guilty to her murder and other charges, maintaining they were the victims of a hijacking.
Questioned by prosecutor Adrian Mopp, Qwabe testified that his acquaintance Xolile Mngeni offered to be the hitman for R15,000. Zola Tongo had phoned Qwabe and said “there was a husband who wanted his wife to be killed”.
Tongo called him after 8pm on November 13, 2010, and said he was leaving the hotel where the couple were staying. Tongo drove the shuttle bus the Dewanis were in.
Qwabe phoned Mngeni and they decided to meet in Gugulethu, Cape Town.
On their way to Gugulethu, on the N2 highway, Tongo phoned them around 9pm and said he had already left Gugulethu and was on his way to Somerset West. They decided to go back to Khayelitsha and parted ways.
Tongo phoned him later that evening and said he was at a restaurant in Somerset West.
“He said the husband wanted his wife to be killed that same evening,” Qwabe said.
Qwabe and Mngeni made their way to a tavern, Sop’s Place, and arranged with a man named Mawanda to give them a lift back to Gugulethu.
When they got to Gugulethu, they made their way on foot to the intersection where they had agreed the hijacking would happen, about 120m away.
“At that time I had yellow kitchen gloves on, for [hiding my] fingerprints.”
He got a text message from Tongo saying he was on his way.
While he was relieving himself against a fence, Mngeni told him a car was approaching.
When the car arrived, Mngeni pointed a gun at the driver.
Qwabe got into the driver’s seat and Mngeni into the front passenger seat. Tongo moved to the back seat where there was a “guy and lady”.
He drove the vehicle and Mngeni “calmed” the passengers by asking them to keep quiet and not try anything.
Qwabe said he could not see the reactions of the passengers as he was focused on driving. He stopped at an intersection facing the police barracks and ordered Tongo out of the car.
“As he was getting out, he said the money was in the pouch behind the front passenger door.”
He started the vehicle again and took a ramp onto the N2 towards Khayelitsha. He took the Baden Powell Drive turn-off and drove through Kuyasa and eNkanini.
He stopped the vehicle between Harare and Kuyasa and asked the husband to get out of the car, go to one of the nearby houses, and report the hijacking.
Mopp asked what the husband’s reaction was.
“I don’t recall,” he said.
Qwabe drove off with Mngeni and the wife towards Mew Way in Khayelitsha.
“While I am there between Ilitha Park and Ndlovini, I hear a gunshot, and after the gunshot I got a shock and turned into the first turn-off into Ilitha Park.”
He asked Mngeni what he had done. He replied that he “shot the lady”.
Qwabe stopped the car and saw Mngeni look for the bullet casing. Qwabe helped him and found it on the floor at the back of the car.
As they walked away, Qwabe said he threw the bullet casing into a storm-water drain.
Mngeni showed him a silver digital camera and three phones – two BlackBerry phones and a brown Nokia. He recognised the brown phone as Tongo’s.
Mngeni took out the money he had retrieved from the car pouch.
“We counted the money while we were walking and it only comes to R10,000. He shows me another stack of some R4000 that he said he got from the husband,” Qwabe said.
Qwabe parted ways with Mngeni and went to a party. Mngeni left with the firearm.
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