Judgment day for Dewani’s alleged killer

On Monday morning Xolile Mngeni (25) appeared before Judge Robert Henney, and put his head down on his arms to hide from the throng of photographers and video cameras.

Mngeni briefly spoke to his lawyer and then took off his peaked cap as the judge entered.

He has pleaded not guilty to hijacking, robbing and killing the tourist in Gugulethu, on November 13 2010. She was on honeymoon with her husband Shrien at the time.

Henney first gave a background to the murder plot, alleged to have been set up by her husband.

The judge said it needed to be remembered that Shrien Dewani had not yet been charged and no direct evidence was presented against him as it was Mngeni's trial.


Shrien was in the process of being extradited from the United Kingdom.

Mziwamadoda Qwabe and shuttle driver to the Dewanis, Zola Tongo, had already been convicted of the murder and were sentenced in terms of a plea agreement.

Linked to crime by prints
Henney said Mngeni was linked to the crime scene by his prints.

"Although initially vehemently denied as the fingerprint of the accused, this fact was later conceded. It can therefore be safely accepted that this was the left palm print of the accused."

A total of 26 witnesses were called by the state to strengthen its case.

The defence disputed the evidence of six witnesses. One of the witnesses was the middleman who helped set up the murder. His identity was being protected in terms of a court order.

"Although he gave no direct incriminating evidence against the accused … His testimony is important in completing the overall factual matrix of this case," Henney said.

Qwabe, who considered himself Mngeni's friend and had known him for nine years, also took the stand. The judge went into detail and read out Qwabe's testimony in full.

The matter continues. – Sapa

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Jenna Etheridge
Jenna Etheridge
Journalist, writer and editor

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