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Dewani trial: Mziwamadoda Qwabe takes the stand

The convicted hitman is the second witness to testify in the so-called honeymoon murder trial.

FILE: Xolile Mngeni (L) and Mziwamadoda Qwabe (R). Picture: Sapa.

CAPE TOWN - The convicted hitman, allegedly hired by British businessman Shrien Dewani to kill his wife Anni, has taken the stand in the Western Cape High Court today.

Mziwamadoda Qwabe is the second witness to testify in the so-called honeymoon murder trial, which resumed this morning.

Dewani is accused of masterminding his wife Anni's murder while the two were on their honeymoon in Cape Town four years ago.

It's alleged the Briton hired three men to stage a hijacking.

The trial started on Monday, with the Briton pleading not guilty to the five criminal charges against him.

Dewani's version of what happened in the days leading up to his wife's murder were detailed in a 37-page plea explanation on Monday.

He denies any involvement in the alleged staged hijacking in which she was killed.

Qwabe appeared cool and confident in the witness box.

He was asked to explain how it came to be that he was involved in the British bride's kidnapping and robbery.

He testified that Zola Tongo, who was also convicted of the crime, told him he had a job and that they arranged to meet.

But proceedings were briefly adjourned due to an acoustics problem and Qwabe was quickly escorted out of the court by Correctional Services officials.

After a short adjournment, wearing a black jacket and spectacles, Qwabe was led into the courtroom by Correctional Services officials.

He's begun telling the court how he was recruited to kill Anni and is explaining how he was recruited to be part of her murder.

Qwabe says Tongo called him about a job and explained that he knew a man who wanted his wife dead.

He says they met in Khayelitsha, where they discussed that the attack should look like a hijacking and that they would be paid R15, 000.

The convicted hit man introduced Tongo to the third accomplice in the crime.

Qwabe says he had an illegal weapon at home but the trio didn't discuss exactly how the woman would be killed.

Dewani is sitting in the dock, listening to Qwabe's testimony, at times craning his neck toward the witness stand.

Meanwhile, the trial continues to draw massive media attention.

Journalists and media workers of all kinds remain camped outside the Western Cape High court this morning for day two of the trial.

The restaurant across the street from the High Court has for years been a refuelling and meeting spot of sorts for lawyers, their clients and reporters.

Since the Dewani trial started, its convenient location has attracted even more customers.

Amid ordering meals and of course the all-important coffee, journalists speak amongst themselves about the case.

Some furiously write down their copy while photographers edit pictures and videos.

Camera people have formed something of a camp near the courthouse, cordoned off with tape.

Even as they chat to colleagues, their eyes rarely leave the entrances to the court building in case they miss an opportunity to snap any of the roleplayers in this trial.

A group of African National Congress members is also making its presence felt at Dewani's murder trial.

There may only be four of them gathered outside the courthouse but the small group says it represents the entire party.

They're adamant they're going to follow this trial to the very end.

Holding a picture of Anni, an ANC supporter has already tried and judged Dewani.

"I am here to support Anni's family and I am here to prove this guy is here to go to jail and rot in jail."

Click here for Dewani's full plea explanation.

Click here for the Dewani trial live blog.