The murder of Anni Dewani in 2010 sent shockwaves throughout the world. The 28-year-old woman was murdered while on honeymoon with her new husband Shrien Dewani in Cape Town. The couple were hijacked and she was shot in the neck. The plot thickened later when Anni’s husband, a prominent Bristol businessman, was linked to the murder.
Police moved quickly to make arrests and days later hijackers Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni, as well as hotel receptionist Monde Mbolombo confessed to their involvement in Shrien’s masterplan. Qwabe pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, Mngeni received a life sentence and Mbolombo was offered immunity for his testimony.
The driver of the taxi, Zola Tongo (39) first refuted his involvement then later confessed. He was found guilty and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
According to UK publication the MailOnline, Anni’s family believes that Tongo will be freed from prison on July 28. It is not clear how this information was relayed to the Hindocha family, but the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has reported that Tongo will only appear before the parole board during the month of July. Thus, the final decision on whether he will go free has not yet been made.
According to reports by EWN, Tongo has been serving his sentence at a prison in Malmesbury.
During a confession read in court in 2010, Tongo told prosecutors he had been offered money by Shrien to organise Anni’s murder and make it look like a hijacking gone awry. The taxi driver then enlisted the help of the two other men implicated in the murder, Xolile Mngeni and Mziwamadoda Qwabe.
According to Tongo, he first met Anni and Shrien when he picked the newlyweds up from Cape Town International Airport in November 2010, and dropped them off at the Cape Grace Hotel. The next evening, the couple were driven through Gugulethu by Tongo where they were “ambushed”.
Shrien escaped unscathed while Anni was found dead in the taxi the following morning. Video evidence showed Shrien paying Tongo cash on the day of the murder. Shrien claimed this was to pay for the hire of the vehicle.
During his trial, it was revealed that Shrien is bisexual, and was involved with a number of male prostitutes. His battle for extradition lasted three and a half years, and Shrien’s trial in South Africa was collapsed in November of 2014.
His case was thrown out when the judge ruled it was based on the testimony of a witness, who was a self-confessed liar and could not distinguish “where the truth ends and lies begin”.
A male prostitute known as ‘The German Master’ flew to Cape Town to provide evidence of his meetings with Shrien. The judge, however, decided his evidence was not relevant. The German Master, whose real name was Leopold Leisser, was found hung in his Birmingham home in November 2016.
Shrien only put out a single statement about his wife’s murder, and insisted that he was framed by the other three men. “I would like to make clear that I have a significant number of questions which remain unanswered about the night that my wife and I were kidnapped and Anni was tragically shot after being taken away from me,” he said. “Each of the gang members did a deal with the authorities to gain either full immunity or vastly reduced sentences in return for providing evidence against me. It is the evidence of these proven liars that led to a witch hunt against me and the resulting failure to pursue the truth of what happened that night. This has allowed the individuals concerned to literally get away with murder. I understand and share the Hindocha family’s frustrations.”
Shrien was cleared of the murder, and is now happily living with his Brazilian photographer boyfriend Gledison Lopez Martins in London.