The man who allegedly fired the single gunshot that ended the life of newlywed Anni Dewani in a simulated hijacking in Khayelitsha in November 2010, is expected to appear in the Western Cape High Court on Monday for his trial to begin – unless it is found that he is too ill to be tried.
Xolile Mngeni is being treated for a brain tumour, and his lawyer informed Judge Robert Henney last month that he was concerned that Mngeni was not fit to stand trial because of his condition.
The defence requested time to obtain an expert report on whether he was able to understand the proceedings, and whether he would be tried would only be revealed on Monday.
It is the State’s case that Mngeni was one of three men hired by Dewani’s husband Shrien to kill his bride.
The other two, taxi driver Zola Tongo and 27-year-old Mziwamadoda Lennox Qwabe, have pleaded guilty to their involvement in Dewani’s murder.
Both men have implicated Mngeni in the killing, and this week Qwabe specifically fingered him as the man who fired the fatal shot.
According to Qwabe’s plea and sentence agreement, he, Mngeni and Tongo had arranged to meet on November 13, 2010, to put everything in place for the killing.
Tongo told him he was going to drive a couple into the township and that the husband, known to him as Shrien Dewani, wanted the wife killed.
Part of the plan was to make the killing look as if the couple and Tongo had been hijacked.
“The kidnapping and robbery were part of the plan to make it appear that this was a random criminal act, unconnected to (Tongo) and the husband,” he said.
It was agreed that the vehicle would be hijacked in Gugulethu at the intersection of NY12 and NY108.
Tongo had to call them when he left the hotel, but they were late and the first attempt wasn’t carried out.
However, Tongo called to say that Shrien insisted that the job be done that day.
He said he would take the couple for dinner, and return to the same place in Gugulethu.
At 11pm, Tongo sent an SMS to say they were close by.
When the vehicle arrived, he and Mngeni were in position and, in line with the plan, hijacked the vehicle at gunpoint.
Qwabe got into the vehicle behind the driver’s wheel, and Mngeni into the passenger seat.
They robbed the three of their possessions.
At the intersection of NY111 and NY1, Tongo was kicked out of the car.
They drove to Khayelitsha along the N2, taking the Baden Powell Drive turn-off.
As they drove past Kuyasa, Shrien was ordered to get out of the car, leaving his bride alone in the back seat as they continued along Mew Way, between Ndlovini Village and Harare.
“While I was driving the vehicle, (Mngeni) shot and killed (Anni Dewani). (Mngeni) was seated in the front passenger seat at the time that he fired the single shot,” Qwabe said in the plea and sentencing.
“I got scared and nervous, and drove the vehicle into Ilitha Park, Khayelitsha, where I parked the vehicle at the side of the road.”
He said he threw the bullet casing into a stormwater drain. He wore yellow gloves throughout the incident to avoid leaving any fingerprints and escape detection.
Both Qwabe and Tongo have agreed to be State witnesses.
Meanwhile, the protracted extradition proceedings of Dewani’s husband have been adjourned to September 18, after his lawyer requested time to obtain expert advice on his mental state.
He claims that he is at risk of suicide owing to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.