Dewani Trial: Van Zyl wears middleman down

Monde Mbolombo is regarded as the middleman in the alleged plot to kill Anni Dewani.

Advocate Francois van Zyl enters the Western Cape High Court ahead of Shrien Dewani's murder trial on 3 November 2014. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - State witness Monde Mbolombo appeared nervous, exhausted and confused under cross-examination on his second day on the stand at the Western Cape High Court.

Mbolombo, a former hotel receptionist, is regarded as the middleman in the alleged plot to kill Swedish bride Anni Hindocha Dewani.

The state alleges that her husband, British businessman Shrien Dewani, hired hitmen to kill her while the couple were on honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010.

Defence lawyer Francois van Zyl read back a section of Mbolombo's testimony from yesterday relating to his role in arranging the alleged hit on Anni.

In it, Mbolombo stated his "job" was to make sure taxi driver Zola Tongo met hitman Mziwamadoda Qwabe and to ensure things went according to plan.

Van Zyl asked if he knew when the killing was supposed to take place.

Mbolombo replied that Tongo had told him but then corrected himself and said it was Qwabe.

He later requested an adjournment because he was tired.

When asked by Judge Jeanette Traverso whether if he had arranged a hit before, he quickly answered no.

Mbolombo maintains he never received any payment for his involvement.

MBOLOMBO LIED 'TO PROTECT HIMSELF'

Mbolombo earlier told the court he had lied under oath while testifying in a previous matter because he was trying to protect himself from prosecution.

Mbolombo was granted indemnity from prosecution in exchange for testifying in gunman Xolile Mngeni's murder trial.

But yesterday, he admitted he wasn't completely honest when he testified in Mngeni's case in 2012.

He said he only misled the court about the extent of his involvement in Anni's murder.

But during cross-examination today, Van Zyl challenged him on that point.

He asked why Mbolombo previously testified that he didn't know how much money would be paid for the alleged hit.

Van Zyl said that aspect surely had nothing to do with his involvement so there was no reason to lie.

Mbolombo explained that he lied to protect himself.

Van Zyl hit back, accusing Mbolombo of being an outright liar.