The Master to testify

27 October 2014 - 02:10 By Philani Nombembe

The temperature is set to rise in the Cape Town High Court when murder accused Shrien Dewani's trial resumes this week.

Self-confessed male prostitute Leopold Leisser, famously known as the German Master, is scheduled to take the stand and bolster the state's case against the British millionaire today.

Dewani's sexuality has been newspaper fodder since the trial began. It has been discussed in court in the presence of his parents and erstwhile in-laws.

In a leaked statement to the police, Leisser claims that Dewani told him he was about to get married to a "lovely girl" and that he could not break the marriage because he would be "disowned" by his family if he did.

But Dewani pre-empted some of the secrets Leisser is expected to spill on the first day of his trial in a 37-page plea and explanation. He has pleaded not guilty to charges including murder, kidnapping and robbery. He has admitted to being bisexual.

"I consider myself to be bisexual," said Dewani. "My sexual interactions with males were mostly physical experiences or e-mail chats with people I met online or in clubs, including prostitutes such as Leopold Leisser."

Leisser alleged that Dewani begged him to chasten and racially abuse him during drug-fuelled sex sessions.

Shuttle-bus operator Zola Tongo is also expected to testify this week. Tongo, who drove the couple during their honeymoon, said Dewani asked him to find hitmen to kill Anni. Tongo said he hired Xolile Mngeni, who died in prison last week, and Mziwamadoda Qwabe to carry out the hit. Mngeni was denied medical parole shortly before his death.

Anni was found dead in the back of Tongo's abandoned car in Khayelitsha on the morning of November 14 2010. Tongo and Qwabe turned state witness. They are serving long prison sentences.

Mngeni's family is unfazed by developments. His grandmother, Zanyiwe Mngeni, said she was focused only on giving him "a decent funeral".

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