Shrien Dewani trial: Murder payment was 'not discussed'

Shrien Dewani Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Shrien Dewani denies arranging the murder of his wife

A taxi driver, convicted of murdering Shrien Dewani's wife Anni, did not ask when he would be paid for his part in the fatal shooting, a South African court has heard.

Zola Tongo, who is serving an 18-year prison sentence, was asked what arrangements he had allegedly made for payment with the British businessman.

Mr Dewani claims the couple were hijacked as Tongo was driving them through Gugulethu township.

He denies arranging his wife's murder.

Mr Dewani, 34, was released unharmed from the taxi and Swedish national Anni was driven away. She was found shot dead in the abandoned taxi the next morning.

During cross-examination by Mr Dewani's lawyer Francois van Zyl, Tongo said he and his client spoke about his alleged commission the day the Dewanis landed in Cape Town.

Western Cape Court heard he was told the murder needed to happen the next day.

Tongo said he could not remember discussing how he would be paid, which Mr Van Zyl said he found strange, as Tongo had described the payment as important.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Zola Tongo is serving an 18-year jail term for conspiring with two others to murder Anni Dewani

He added he did not know how long Dewani would be in the country.

Mr van Zyl said: "For all you knew, he could have left Cape Town on Sunday morning. You made no arrangements with him as to when and how you would be paid."

After more questions, it was revealed Tongo did not ask about the alleged commission when he and Mr Dewani were sitting together at the Cape Grace Hotel, hours before Anni's body was found. Tongo said he did not ask because the hotel was busy.

No contact number

Mr van Zyl asked Tongo if he had tried to get in contact with Mr Dewani before he left the country the following Tuesday. Tongo said he did not.

The lawyer said it was only through coincidence the pair spoke, when Tongo phoned a police officer to complain about journalists bothering him.

Tongo did not realise Mr Dewani was in the officer's company. Mr Dewani asked the officer if he could speak to Tongo over the phone.

Asked again why he did not try to get hold of Mr Dewani, Tongo said he did not have his number.

When it was pointed out to him that nothing prevented him from phoning Mr Dewani's hotel, Tongo said he had not thought of that.

The prosecution alleges Mr Dewani conspired with others to stage the hijacking, in return for 15,000 rand (about £1,300 at the exchange rate at the time).

The trial continues.

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