Dewani trial: Cross-examination of Tongo to conclude

Shrien Dewani’s lawyer is expected to conclude his cross-examination of the state’s key witness.

Zola Tongo (R) covers his face as he attends a session at the Cape Town High Court, Cape Town, 7 December 2010. Picture: EPA.

CAPE TOWN - The honeymoon murder trial could see the conclusion of the cross-examination of former taxi driver Zola Tongo.

It's Tongo's seventh day on the witness stand.

He is the state's key witness in its case against British businessman Shrien Dewani, who is accused of ordering a hit on his wife, Anni Hindocha Dewani, while on honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010.

Tongo claims he was hired to recruit hitmen to kill Anni in an alleged staged hijacking.

He has denied receiving R1,000 and a thank you card from Dewani out of pity before the Briton left Cape Town in November 2010.

But Dewani's lawyer Francois van Zyl questioned whether the convicted taxi driver neglected to tell police about the card because that would have contradicted his testimony that Dewani hired him to recruit hitmen.

Van Zyl says he has footage that shows Dewani leaving a stationery shop earlier that day.

Tongo told the court if the British businessman had bought him wine, chocolate or any other gift, he would have mentioned it.

Van Zyl is expected to wrap up his cross-examination today.


A web of inconsistencies has emerged during Tongo's cross-examination on Tuesday.

The former taxi driver sounded like a stuck record as his responses were repetitive and his explanations confusing.

He was repeatedly quizzed on Tuesday about a number of discrepancies between his sworn statement and his testimony.

Tongo said some mistakes were made by him and blamed the others on the officer who drafted the document.

When asked to explain his mistakes, he repeatedly said his memory is clearer now than it was back then.

He said he now has a clearer recollection of how events unfolded than when he was interviewed by police almost two weeks after Anni's murder.

Tongo was given an opportunity to correct what he has now described as mistakes in his sworn statement to police, but he didn't.

Van Zyl then questioned why Tongo, who had an opportunity to correct mistakes in his statement, opted to make only one change to the document.