Dewani middleman accused of playing key role in murder plot

The court heard today that Monde Mbolombo called Mziwamadoda Qwabe on the night Anni was killed.

State witness Monde Mbolombo hides from photographers as he leaves the Western Cape High Court on 10 November 2014. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape High Court today heard that former hotel receptionist, Monde Mbolombo, instructed one of the hitmen to ensure the plot to murder Anni Hindocha Dewani went ahead after their initial plan to kill her failed.

Mbolombo is the state's latest witness in its case against British businessman Shrien Dewani.

Dewani is accused of ordering a hit on his wife during the couple's honeymoon in November 2010.

He has denied all charges against him.

Today, the court heard how Mbolombo called hitman Mziwamadoda Qwabe on the night Anni was killed and said the plan must go ahead.

He claims he did so because former taxi driver Zola Tongo had told him earlier in the day the killing had to take place that night.

Tongo previously testified the plan almost failed because the hitmen were not at the agreed upon location when the couple were taken to Gugulethu.

Dewani's advocate Francois van Zyl said Mbolombo's instruction shows he played a leading role in the plot.

WAS 5TH PERSON INVOLVED IN ANNI DEWANI'S MURDER?

Earlier, Van Zyl asked Mbolombo if a fifth unnamed person was involved in the murder.

Van Zyl asked Mbolombo what he meant when he told one of his co-conspirators in a telephone conversation that five people were involved in the plot.

Mbolombo said he can't remember why he said that.

When Van Zyl asked whether Dewani was the fifth person, as Tongo previously testified, Mbolombo agreed he could be but wasn't sure.

MIDDLEMAN QUESTIONED ABOUT FALSE NAME

Names and nicknames have proven to be a contentious issue in the trial.

Since the trial started last month, it has emerged Tongo initially told police he didn't know the names of his co-conspirators.

In another twist, Dewani says he knew Tongo by his middle name "Robert", even though Tongo denies using that name.

Now, Mbolombo said he referred to Qwabe as "Abongile" because he couldn't remember his real name at the time he put him in touch with Tongo.

Unconvinced, Van Zyl intimated Mbolombo used a fictitious name to try and protect Qwabe.