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News : Dewani’s dad in court

The father of murdered honeymoon tourist Anni Dewani is in Cape Town and will be in court on Tuesday to hear what happened to his daughter on the evening she was killed.

On Monday night Vinod Hindocha, via SMS, told the Cape Times he was in Cape Town and would attend the start of chauffeur Zola Robert Tongo’s trial in the Western Cape High Court.

He said he could not yet say much but would be able to comment further today once Tongo had appeared.

On Monday night it was not clear whether other members of Dewani’s family were in Cape Town.

Earlier on Monday it emerged Tongo, 31, from Bothasig, had been charged with a fourth crime.

Aside from charges of murder, kidnapping and robbery with aggravated circumstances, he faces an additional charge of defeating the ends of justice. Details of this charge are yet to be revealed.

Eric Ntabazalila, regional spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), said during today’s high court proceedings a summary of facts about what happened to Dewani the night she was killed was expected to be disclosed.

“A list of witnesses may be revealed. All the details on what happened that night will be revealed in court.

“It will enable the country to know what happened,” he said.

Tongo is expected to appear before Cape Judge President John Hlophe today.

On Monday, Tongo appeared in the Wynberg Regional Court with 25-year-old Mziwamadoda Qwabe and 23-year-old Xolile Mngeni.

During previous appearances it emerged that Tongo, who had been driving Anni and Shrien Dewani around in the Winelands and Gugulethu about three weeks ago when they were hijacked, planned to enter into a plea and sentencing agreement with the State and turn State witness.

On Monday Ntabazalila said after weeks of working with him, Tongo had signed the agreement and the State was satisfied with the information it contained.

He said Dewani’s family had been consulted about the plea bargain but would not say whether these consultations had been telephonic or had taken place in Cape Town.

Earlier during court proceedings yesterday Director of Public Prosecutions Rodney de Kock asked magistrate Jackie Redelinghuys to separate Tongo’s trial from that of Qwabe and Mngeni.

This was because of Tongo’s plea bargain.

Redelinghuys said Tongo was to appear in the Western Cape High Court today for his trial.

A letter informing the court of the accusations Tongo faced, a summary of substantial facts and a list of witnesses, which De Kock said would not yet be disclosed, were then handed to Tongo.

Appearing calm, Tongo briefly looked around the public gallery before walking from the dock to the holding cells.

Redelinghuys postponed the case against Qwabe and Mngeni to February 25.

The two would be detained in Pollsmoor Prison until then.

As they were led to the holding cells, both looked wildly around the packed public gallery apparently trying to spot people they knew.

Mngeni smiled and greeted someone while Qwabe walked slowly from the dock.

Redelinghuys, who had previously ordered a ban on the publishing of photographs of the three accused pending an identity parade, on Monday lifted this restriction.

After proceedings De Kock said the documents handed to Tongo about the night of Dewani’s murder were not yet public records and he could not comment on their |contents.

Qwabe’s attorney, Thabo Nogemane, was considering approaching the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) as his client had said police had beaten him while he was under arrest.

Mngeni’s attorney, Vusi Tshabalala, said he also planned to contact the ICD by today after his client complained to him that during his arrest police had beaten him up and at one point held |a plastic bag over |his head.

On Monday in an interview on the CapeTalk radio station national police commissioner Bheki Cele said Mngeni had been out on bail at the time of his arrest for Dewani’s murder.

He said Mngeni had previously faced charges including that of murder and attempted murder and had been released on bail four times prior to last month’s arrest.

Tshabalala could later not be reached to comment on this particular matter. - Cape Times

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