South African gets 25 years for murder of honeymooner
ONE OF the South African men charged with the kidnap and murder of Swedish honeymooner Anni Dewani in Cape Town in 2010 was given a 25-year jail term yesterday after pleading guilty to the crime.
Mziwamadoda Qwabe pleaded guilty to all charges at the Western Cape high court as part of a plea bargain agreement with the state.
Qwabe’s co-accused Xolile Mngeni, who has a malignant brain tumour that has thus far prevented him going on trial, was also expected to appear in court yesterday for a pre-trial conference.
Ms Dewani (28) was shot dead and her body found in an abandoned taxi in Cape Town’s Gugulethu township in the early hours of November 14, 2010. Her husband, Shrien, was found abandoned on the side of the road in Khayelitsha, a nearby township, a few hours before his wife’s body was located.
The couple had been in South Africa on honeymoon for a week when the tragedy struck. Mr Dewani, a British national, told police after the incident that the taxi they were in was hijacked at a traffic light. He maintained the perpetrators forced him and taxi driver Zola Tongo out of the car before taking off with his bride.
After helping the police with their inquiries he was allowed to return to the UK, but Mr Tongo later admitted being involved in the murder, and claimed Mr Dewani was behind the plot to have the young woman killed.
Mr Dewani is now the prime suspect in the murder case, and he is currently tied up in extradition proceedings in the UK where his lawyers are claiming he is too ill to travel to South Africa for a trial due to depression. He has maintained his innocence since the allegations of his involvement arose.
Anni Dewani’s uncle Ashok Hindocha said: “We want to know what really happened to Anni, why they killed her.”