Mngeni is the man convicted of pulling the trigger that killed Anni.
It is hardly surprising that Panorama could find statements where Mngeni and Dewani agree; after all, they were in the car together. But both of them have given several different versions of the same events.
Jeremy Vine chose to focus just on the agreements, and conveniently excluded all the discrepancies between what Shrien Dewani has said and what Mngeni has said.
In three separate places, Vine uncritically accepts Mngeni’s recorded confession to police as “evidence” that the SA police, prosecutor, and courts are wrong, and that the selected statements of Shrien Dewani which they choose to play, constitute a credible alternative version of events. It takes only minimal research to expose how flimsy and inconsequential these arguments are.
Panorama’s reliance on the testimony of Mngeni is made all the more laughable in light of the trial findings (Clauses 117 to 128), that Mngeni was proven beyond reasonable doubt (by “an avalanche of evidence“) to have lied to the court: “For these reasons, and others as borne out by the evidence, the version of the accused is rejected as false. It is not reasonably possibly true.“ (Clause 128)
Jeremy Vine chose not to make any reference to the Western Cape High Court’s findings.
- At 37:27 we are told: “Shrien says he handed over all the South African cash he had on him – 4,000 Rand – roughly 350 Pounds.”
This is hardly an earth-shaking revelation. In fact, it is such a minor piece of information that listing it as “evidence” in support of Shrien seems a little desperate. Are the Panorama team so hard up for corroborating evidence, that they will grasp at such straws? Apparently, the answer is ‘Yes’.
- Vine goes on to solemnly inform us that “The filmed confession of one of the gunmen, Xolile Mngeni, supports this, his account filmed before Shrien Dewani became a suspect”.
And to prove this to their UK audience, Panorama play footage of Mngeni talking in Xhosa to the police, with a helpful onscreen translation. But even this supposed minor agreement of fact is not well-founded. In his initial statement to police, Shrien is on record saying he handed over 5 – 6 thousand Rand. This is perhaps not a major discrepancy, but it is stretching the truth to say Mngeni’s confession supports Shrien’s statement.
- At 38:30 Shrien is heard saying “The driver then said “We just want the car, we are not going to hurt you. We are going to let you go but let you go separately”.
Although this revelation is not contested by Qwabe, or anyone else, and like the first example, is hardly seismic in its implications, Vine sees fit to tell us that: “Again, Mngeni, the only one to reject a plea bargain, confirms Shrien Dewani’s account.” Then to make sure we understand, Panorama once again play us police video of Mngeni talking in Xhosa. And once again, Panorama supply a helpful English translation on the screen proving, according to Jeremy at 38:52, that “Shrien and Mngeni had no contact before or after, yet their accounts tally“. Ordinarily, of course, the issue of accurate translation would not be a cause for concern, but in this program, Vine and his pals have shown us that they can’t be trusted to report plain simple facts without embroidery.
- At 39:00 Vine moves on to the subject of Shrien Dewani’s exit from the taxi, assuring us “Again, his account mirrors Mngeni’s.”
Vine completely ignores the issue of which of Shrien Dewani’s accounts to compare to Mngeni: his recorded interview with The Sun newspaper; or his signed statement to police? In his statement to police, Dewani said he was pulled from the taxi, in the recorded interview, he said he was pushed.
Vine chooses to compare The Sun interview, and in support of his assertion, we are shown more footage of Mngeni’s Xhosa testimony, translated on-screen as “Qwabe insulted the white guy, and said ‘Get out! Get out! Get out! Get out!’ “, and we are told, this supports Shrien’s account of being thrown out of the taxi.
But what Mngeni can actually be heard to say is “Tss tss tss tss”. The meaning is unmistakeable, as it is used universally when shooing pets and small children away, and certainly does not match Shrien Dewani’s version of his exit from the vehicle as played at 39:41, “...they prised us apart, they held a gun to my head and said either you leave or we’ll shoot you.”
The discrepancy is even more stark, if we compare the full version of what Shrien says to The Sun, as played in the Dispatches documentary at 29:55.
“They became increasingly aggressive and pushed me out of the car …um at gun point. I was holding on to her ..ah hanging on to her and they prised us apart and they had a gun, they held a gun to my head and said either you leave or we’ll shoot you… and then they forced me out of the car. They ..um they tried to open the back door ..um but it wouldn’t open presumably because the child lock was still on ..um…. and ..er so they opened the window and he eventually just forced me out of the window ..um because I was resisting ..um and holding onto Anni and they pushed me out of the window”.
Audio from The Sun interview – as aired by ITV4 – DISPATCHES: Murder on Honeymoon
?? “Tss- Tss- Tss- Tss-” ??