Transcript: 182. The Honeymoon Murder of Anni Dewani | South Africa

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Anni Hindocha spent three months in India, planning her lavish wedding, to one of Bristol’s most eligible bachelors, Shrien Dewani. It was like a fairy tale and Anni saw to every detail. Friends and family flew to Mumbai from all over the world to share in the couple’s magical day.

 

But two weeks later, on their honeymoon in South Africa, Anni was brutally murdered. What appeared to be a botched car hijacking, left Shrien widowed. 

 

The investigation and subsequent court cases became a circus of false testimony, incorrect facts and scandal that left the Hindocha family with more questions than answers. How did a beautiful bride end up dead, on that sultry South African summer’s night?

 

>>Intro Music

The Hindocha family had been living in Uganda when the country’s then-president Idi Amin ordered all people of South Asian descent to be deported. The displaced family was granted residence in Sweden and settled into the town of Mariestad in the early 1970s. Vinod Hindocha carved out a successful career as an electrical engineer, while his wife Nilam made sure her family settled and thrived in their new country. 

 

The Hindocha’s second daughter Anni Ninna was born on the 12th of March 1982. She had two siblings: older sister Ami and younger brother Anish. The intelligent and outgoing Anni grew into a beautiful young woman who was the apple of her father’s eye. 

 

One of Anni’s aunts, who lived in the UK, noticed an eligible bachelor in her social circle. He was a successful, young businessman called Shrien Diwani. A mutual acquaintance was able to provide her with his number and she played matchmaker by setting up a casual ‘run-in’ between the two at a coffee shop. At first, Anni wasn’t interested, but agreed to meet Shrien again. And before she knew it, the handsome 30-year-old had won her over with his charming smile.

 

When Anni returned to Sweden, the couple had a long-distance relationship for a while, and soon things were serious between them. Anni took the plunge and resigned from her job and moved to the UK in March of 2010 to be with Shrien. Two months later, the couple was engaged to be married. 

 

However, behind the bright smiles of the picture-perfect couple, things were not what they seemed. Cracks began to show in their relationship in the lead-up to the wedding and Anni confided in loved ones that Shrien was a perfectionist and she felt stifled under his control. Anni’s cousin would later tell the Sunday Mirror that Anni had thrown her wedding ring at Shrien during an argument, days before their wedding ceremony.

 

She was crying and absolutely serious about calling it off. I said she should tell him how she felt and, if he understood, then maybe she should go ahead with the wedding.” 

 

But there was a lot at stake: theirs was a destination wedding. Anni had always dreamed of a traditional Indian wedding in Mumbai, and guests from all over the world had already made travel arrangements. Despite tensions between the couple, the wedding went ahead as planned. 

 

On 29 October 2010, 300 guests gathered to celebrate the wedding, at a stunning venue overlooking Powai Lake. Anni had never looked more beautiful, thought her older sister Ami Denborg. During their first dance as a married couple, Anni and Shrien were both beaming, singing along to the music, while gazing into each other’s eyes. 

 

It was Shrien’s duty to arrange the honeymoon, and he wanted to surprise Anni. He told no one where they were going, and it was only once they landed in South Africa, that Anni communicated to her family where she was. The newlyweds arrived on November 7th, 2010 and kicked off their African honeymoon with a four-night safari in the Kruger National Park. On November 12th, they flew to Cape Town and met with taxi driver, 31-year-old Zola Tongo, who drove them to the five-star Cape Grace Hotel.

 

CCTV footage shows the couple, looking very much in love, talking closely, laughing, kissing… From the outside-in it certainly appeared to have been the perfect honeymoon. Anni’s messages to family and friends also indicated that things between her and Shrien were looking up, and she was more positive about the marriage than before.

 

Their first night out in Cape Town was spent at an upscale seafood restaurant, where staff recalled Shrien spent most of the dinner on his cell phone, leaving his new bride alone at the table. 

 

The following day, on November 13th, their taxi driver from the day before, Zola Tongo, picked them up at the Cape Grace Hotel and drove them to Surfside Restaurant in Strand – about 45 minutes away. The taxi driver waited for them, and after their meal, they met him in the parking lot at his Volkswagen Sharan. Tongo was employed as a shuttle driver but moonlighted as a taxi-driver and unofficial tour guide, using his girlfriend’s car. He offered a better deal than the transport provided by the Cape Grace Hotel, and Shrien was happy to support a local entrepreneur. 

 

Curiously, Tongo opted to drive back through Gugulethu – a dangerous area, way off the beaten track. The community is plagued by a high level of gender-based violence, drug abuse, crime, and gangsterism. It is not a safe place for tourists, and in stark contrast to the 5-star honeymoon the newlyweds were enjoying up to that point.

 

As soon as they turned off the main road, things went terribly wrong. The taxi was hijacked by two armed men who forced the driver, Zola Tonga out of the car at gunpoint. The hijackers jumped into the car and drove off, with the honeymooners still in the back seat. Shrien Dewani was robbed of his wallet, designer watch, and cell phone and pushed out of the vehicle. He stood on the dusty road and watched, helpless, as the robbers drove off, with his wife still in the car. 

 

A local resident saw the disoriented foreigner and rushed to his aid. The man called police and raised the alarm. Police officers came to the scene, took Shrien’s statement, and then accompanied him to the Cape Grace Hotel. CCTV footage shows Shrien arriving with officers, shocked, distraught and crying. The tearful Shrien called Anni’s father in Sweden and apologised for not protecting his daughter as he had promised. Vinod Hindocha was confused, and eventually understood that his daughter had been kidnapped and neither Shrien nor police had any idea where she was, or if she was still alive. 

 

At 7:50am the next morning, Anni Dewani was found dead in the back of the VW taxi in Khayelitsha, about 15 kilometres from where the attack commenced. She had suffered a single gunshot wound to the neck. The police would later confirm that Anni’s white-gold and diamond bracelet, her handbag, a Giorgio Armani wristwatch, and her Blackberry phone were missing. These items were presumed stolen. 

 

The post-mortem examination performed on Anni revealed bruising on her inner thigh which indicated she had been in a struggle. The examination also observed that the gunshot wound had initially passed through Anni’s hand before going into her neck and severing an artery. 

 

Anni’s body was released by South African authorities on November 17th and returned home to the United Kingdom on a British Airways flight, accompanied by her widower, Shrien Dewani. Her funeral was held in London on November 21st. Two weeks before, her friends and family were wedding guests. They would never have thought that they would be mourning the death of the bride so soon after – what seemed to be – the happiest day of her life.

 

Anni was cremated six months after her death, and in a Hindu ceremony, her family scattered her ashes over Vänern Lake, which was one of Anni’s favorite places near her hometown of Mariestad, Sweden.


While her family struggled to come to terms with the unexpected loss of their daughter and sister, the investigation into her murder was making progress, days after the attack. 

 

Back in South Africa, investigators were puzzled about the crime scene. Car hijackings occur often, and most of the time passengers aren’t killed. Forced out of the vehicle at gunpoint, yes, and harmed if they try to resist. But killing an unarmed victim in the backseat of a car, did not seem like a typical hijacking. 

 

Forensic examiners found a palm print on the abandoned taxi, which led to the arrest of petty criminal Xolile Mngeni. Mngeni confessed to his involvement in the hijacking, armed robbery, and kidnapping of Anni and Shrien Dewani, soon after his arrest. However, he claimed that a man called Mziwamadoda Qwabe was the one who had fired the shot that had killed Anni. He explained that Qwabe and Anni were struggling over her handbag when he shot her. 

 

26-year-old Qwabe was arrested at 1am on Thursday November 18th after a trusted township informant tipped police off as to his whereabouts. Qwabe initially denied the allegations but later admitted that he had been involved. However, later that same day, his story changed. In a macabre twist, he named one of his victims, Shrien Diwani, as the person who had hired him to kill his wife, Anni.

 

A third person, Monde Mbolombo was arrested after Qwabe had provided his name in the interrogation. Mbolombo, a receptionist at the Cape Grace Hotel, also initially denied being involved but later admitted that he was the one who had arranged the hijacking and armed robbery. Mbolombo did not mention Shrien Diwani in his first statement. However, the next day, Mbolombo’s story changed. He then claimed that the whole thing was a planned murder at the request of Shrien Dewani. It was peculiar how similar his story was to that of Qwabe’s.

 

The taxi driver, Zola Tongo, who was initially considered to be one of the victims in the hijacking, surrendered to police a week after Anni’s murder. His family and friends were shocked, because he was an honest, working man with no criminal history. Why would he get involved in a murder plot? 

 

Like the other two accused, Tongo too had had a change of heart. He told police that the entire event was staged to look like a random hijacking-gone-wrong. He alleged that Shrien Diwani had offered him R15,000 to kill his wife, Anni. According to Tongo, he then spoke to a friend about finding a hitman and that was when he was put in touch with Xolile Mngeni and Mziwamadoda Qwabe.

 

International media covered the case extensively from the very start of the investigation. South Africa’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism, and Cape Town is the jewel in the tourism crown. Tour operators and accommodation providers saw an immediate drop in bookings after the country’s high murder rate was blasted over the news, with statistics such as the fact that, on average, 46 people are killed every day. 

 

After a very successful FIFA World Cup tournament hosted by South Africa earlier that year, there were concerns that this murder and the bad press following it would negate any positivity felt after the event. The fact that specialist police task force, known as HAWKS, were assigned to the case made it high priority in the media’s eyes. The scandalous insinuation that Shrien Dewani was behind the murder, fuelled fires of speculation even further.

 

Qwabe and Tongo were offered reduced sentences if they pleaded guilty and promised to give honest and truthful testimony against Shrien Dewani and in the other criminal charges related to the crime. Mbolombo was granted full immunity from prosecution under the same terms as Qwabe and Tongo.

Taxi driver Tongo appeared in the Western Cape High Court on December 7th, 2010. In accordance with his plea deal, he pleaded guilty to armed robbery, kidnapping, and the murder of Anni Dewani. All of which he alleged were done at the behest of Shrien Dewani. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison, on the condition that he testified truthfully against Shrien in any further legal proceedings.

During Qwabe’s pre-trial hearing at Wynberg Magistrates Court, on February 18th 2011, Qwabe’s defense team felt that the court would not be able to provide a fair trial for their client. Thabo Nogemane from the defense said:

 

I am instructed that some unknown police officer assaulted him by means of a big torch. He was hit all over his body. He said the statement was a suggestion put to him by the police. They already had the allegations, so they told him: 'Just sign here. I wouldn't refer to it as a confession, just a statement.” 

 

Qwabe’s trial went ahead, regardless, and he was sentenced to 25 years in prison, contingent on the facts laid out in his plea deal. He will be eligible for release in 2027.

 

Xolile Mngeni’s lawyer stated that his client had been suffocated with a plastic bag before he signed the statement admitting his involvement in the killing. He added that the police resorted to “irregular methods” because of the immense pressure of such a high-profile case. Mngeni’s trial was delayed because he needed surgery to remove a brain tumor. 

 

Even though he had admitted to his role in the crime in a videotaped confession, Mngeni pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial in 2012. His new version of events was quite different to the first one. This time, he claimed that he had an alibi and was not at the location in Gugulethu when the hijacking took place. His lawyer argued that his initial confession should be ruled as inadmissible because Mngeni was forced to make that statement after being tortured. But the judge denied this request and ruled the confession to be admissible. Monde Mbolombo took the stand and read out a prepared statement where he confessed to having lied in his previous affidavits and he promised to tell the truth while testifying.

On November 19th, 2012, Xolile Mngeni was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. The court accepted Qwabe’s and Mbolombo’s version of events, where they stated the crime was a contract killing. The court found Mngeni to have been the one who fired the shot that ended Anni Dewani’s life. These findings were later superseded by the judgment in Shrien Dewani’s trial, where the court found the earlier determinations had been made on the basis of flawed forensic evidence and perjury from the two key witnesses, Qwabe and Mbolombo.

 

Xolile Mngeni died at the Goodwood Centre of Excellence jail on October 18th, 2014.

 

All the while, Shrien Dewani kept an eye on the case from his home in the UK. After his return from South Africa, he had received medical help to deal with the trauma from the hijacking. His brother Preyen dismissed any allegations made against Shrien labeling them as “totally false”.

 

Shrien Dewani was arrested on December 8th, 2010 at the request of South African authorities on suspicion of conspiracy to murder. The South African justice department announced it would initiate extradition proceedings when it received more documentation from prosecutors. Shrien declared that he would not consent to being extradited to South Africa. Anni’s family wanted him to go and face the court.

 

What followed was a three-year tug-of-war to get Shrien Dewani back in South Africa. His solicitor managed to postpone proceedings, stating that the widower had been diagnosed with Acute Stress Disorder. In April 2011 the Belmarsh Magistrates Court ruled that Shrien could be extradited to South Africa to stand trial for the murder of his wife Anni, pending approval from the Home Secretary. Anni’s family handed a petition with 11,411 signatures to the Home Office, requesting Shrien Dewani’s extradition. Theresa May eventually agreed and signed an order to grant the extradition. 

 

In August of 2013, Shrien’s lawyers announced they would bid to take his case to the Supreme Court. Two months later, this appeal was won and Shrien’s case against his extradition was reopened at the High Court in London. Frustrated about the countless delays, Anni’s mother, Nilam Hindocha, said: 

 

"I was brought up to believe British justice is the best in the world, so it is very hard to understand why we are still here. I am the mother of a murdered daughter. How long do I have to wait?” 

 

Six months later, on January 31st, 2014, the High Court ruled that Shrien Dewani, who was still in hospital at the time, would be extradited to South Africa. His legal team attempted yet another appeal, but it was blocked by the Supreme Court and the High Court refused any further appeals. There was no way around it: Shrien Dewani had to be extradited to South Africa.

 

The accused widower arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday, April 7th, 2014, and was arrested on arrival. He was ordered to stand trial for allegedly arranging to have his wife, Anni murdered. He was charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, and obstructing the administration of justice. Shrien pleaded not guilty to all charges. A spokesman for the South African department of justice commented:

 

He is not on honeymoon. He is not on holiday. He is here to stand trial and we want to see that happen within a reasonable period of time." 

 

Shrien Dewani’s South African trial began on October 6th, 2014. The key witnesses at Dewani’s trial were taxi driver Zola Tongo, accused gunman Mziwa-madoda Qwabe, and the hotel receptionist Monde Mbolombo. All of whom alleged that Shrien had requested the crime. But these witnesses were not credible at all. In their testimonies they often contradicted their own statements, as well as important facts surrounding the case. Tongo and Mbolombo referred to phone calls and text messages that did not actually exist. Both refused to name a fifth conspirator that had been referenced in the interrogation recordings. 

 

None of the witnesses could explain why the honeymooners had been driven into a high-crime neighborhood like Gugulethu. Khayelitsha, where Anni’s body was discovered is a township that ranks in the top five of the largest slums in the world, where the median family income is less than $1,500 a year. Around 70% of the residents live in shacks. On average, there is a murder a day in Khayelitsha. Why would Tongo go there? No one could offer an explanation. 

 

The court was told that Anni was hesitant to go through with the wedding and had regretted marrying Shrien. Her cousin also declared that Shrien did not want to spend their first night as a married couple together, and Anni ended up sharing a room with her cousin while Shrien slept on the sofa. 

 

Shrien told the court that his “whole world came crashing down” after Anni was murdered. 

However, his grief came into question when a man by the name of Leipold Leisser took the stand. Leisser, also known as ‘The German Master’, had met Shrien on a gay dating website. They had a relationship in the time leading up to Shrien and Anni’s wedding. Shrien was forced to admit that he was bisexual. This bombshell garnered a lot of media attention, sensationalising the case even more. 

 

The stress of the trial and the unwanted media attention became too much for Leisser, and he eventually took his own life. 

 

CCTV footage was shown of Shrien's meeting with Tongo in the parking lot of the Cape Grace Hotel. Tongo claimed they were discussing the murder plot. Dewani claimed they made an arrangement for Tongo to take him to a foreign exchange facility in Cape Town, nothing more.

 

Shrien’s defence proposed two versions of the possible plot that lead to Anni’s murder. The first was that the whole thing was a robbery gone wrong. When cross-examining Qwabe, he said:

 

“You threatened her with this firearm, pulling her on the left lower leg. The shot went off and she was shot as she tried to get out of the car.” 

 

The defense’s second theory was that it was all a failed kidnap and ransom plot. This theory was based partly on the testimony of a criminal named Bernard Mitchell who said Zola Tongo had told him about the plan while in prison after the crime.

 

The defence asked for the case against Shrien Dewani to be dismissed, citing a lack of evidence that linked their client to the crime. Honorable Judge Traverso granted the application for dismissal on December 8th and Shrien Dewani was acquitted and exonerated of any and all involvement. Judge Traverso said there was no credible evidence that linked Shrien to the crime and explained the ruling by saying:

 

“Mr. Tongo, who was the only witness who could link the accused to this conspiracy, gave evidence to the court which is so improbable and contains so many mistakes, lies, and inconsistencies that one simply cannot know where the lies end and the truth begins. I accept that at this stage of the proceedings the credibility of a witness plays a limited role. But, in my view, the evidence of these witnesses is so replete with fundamental contradictions on the key components of the State case that I can all but ignore it. In making this finding, I take into account that all three witnesses, Mr. Tongo, Mr. Mbolombo, and Mr. Qwabe are intelligent people, and therefore more than capable of attempting to twist their version to implicate the accused.”

 

The court overturned Justice Henney’s finding in the Mngeni Trial and ruled that Xolile Mngeni could not have been the one who shot Anni. The court also found that some of the key conclusions reached in that trial were erroneous and based on flawed forensic evidence and the fact that Monde Mbolombo had admitted to lying. Judge Traverso said:

 

“Before Mr. Mbolombo proceeded with his evidence, he delivered a pre-prepared speech which, from the record, appears to be virtually identical to a similarly emotive speech which he gave the court in the Mngeni trial, before blatantly lying about material aspects.”

Monde Mbolombo has not been prosecuted or punished for his confessed role in Anni’s murder or his confessed perjury. In November 2015, the Director of Public Prosecutions announced his decision that Mbolombo would not be prosecuted.

 

With so many inconsistencies, theories surrounding this case are abundant. Some have questioned whether Shrien was set up by the South African authorities. The issue was also raised in court when the prosecution provided a transcript from a secretly recorded conversation between Shrien’s brother, Preyen, and a family member of Anni. 

 

“We are not dealing with anything normal here. We are dealing with South Africa. This is not Sweden or the UK where you have a robust police and court system. Certain senior politicians are getting very worried about the tourism situation.” 

 

Shrien’s lawyers avoided this claim in court, however, as it was in the realm of speculation, and assumption and they had no direct evidence.

 

One thing that was made clear during the trial of Shrien Dewani was the inadequate police work performed by the South African Police Service. Police pocketbooks had gone missing, one witness statement was unsigned, and a legally binding affidavit was falsified. One officer also admitted to forgetting about a key piece of forensic evidence for four years. This evidence could allegedly have cleared one of the men of Anni’s murder (presumably this was referring to Xolile Mngeni).

 

After Shrien Dewani ‘s acquittal in December of 2014, Anni’s brother and sister addressed the media, stating their frustration and disappointment. Ami went so far as to say they didn’t care if Shrien was behind the murder or not, all they wanted, was to know the truth. The Hindocha family asked the UK’s Coroner’s court to reopen the inquest into her murder, however, because Shrien had been acquitted by a South African court, Brent Coroner’s Court in North London ruled that a full inquest into the case was not appropriate. On October 9th, the Coroner confirmed that there was not sufficient cause to resume an inquest. He explained to the court that he was prohibited from making any conclusions that were inconsistent with that of the South African courts.

 

On August 4th, 2018, Anni Hindocha’s uncle, released a statement on behalf of the family in response to the media reports that Shrien Dewani was now in a same-sex relationship with a Brazilian photographer. 

 

“We accept he did not murder Anni, but he lied to us and had a very secret gay life. He owes us an apology for his lies.”

 

Looking at the case in black and white, as per court ruling, the case was cut and dry: Shrien and Anni tragically happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and became a statistic of South Africa’s high crime rate. But, there is another perspective to consider.

 

You might remember the armchair-sleuth-turned-writers, brother team Thomas and Calvin Mollett from our episode covering the Inge Lotz case. In their book, “The Bloodied Bride - Did Shrien Dewani get away with murder?”, the Mollett brothers make some interesting points about the Dewani case. There is no getting around the fact that the work done by the SAPS was sub-standard and sloppy. But the Mollett’s feel their biggest mistake was letting Shrien Dewani leave the country when he did. 

 

“He was there that night and – as a witness at least – should have stayed to assist the police with their investigation.” 

 

The Mollett brothers also believe that Anni’s murder could not have been a “botched robbery” because Zola Tongo would not have been able to plan ahead for where the hijacking would take place when it was Shrien who decided where the couple were dining out that night. Shrien had made a reservation at the restaurant at around 13:45 and had no more contact with the taxi driver until they were picked up from their hotel. The Molletts concluded from this information that Tongo must have been aware, when he met with the shooters, of plans that were already in place and where the vehicle was going to be. 

 

“Shrien could have chosen to dine in Hout Bay, which would not have taken them on the N2 and past Gugulethu.”

 

However, to counter the Mollet-brothers on this point… It would be easy for a smooth-talking self-appointed tour-guide to veer off-course and drive the unsuspecting tourists anywhere, under the guise of a ‘local experience’ or pretending he wanted to take a scenic route home. The thing is, with so many false versions of events, it’s hard to tell what the truth is and how they actually ended up in the township that night.

 

The Molletts found a very damning piece of evidence in the docket: a transcription of a meeting Shrien had with Anni’s family when he returned home to the UK. In this meeting, which was recorded by Anni’s cousin, Shrien tells the Hindocha's a different story to what was later proven by CCTV and cell records and according to his later plea statement. 

 

"He blatantly lied to them,” the authors concluded.

 

Shrien had told his in-laws that Tongo had left straight after dropping the couple off at the Cape Grace Hotel, but it came out in court that Shrien had spoken to the taxi driver for roughly 10 minutes while Anni checked in. Another anomaly that the Mollett brothers point out is the fact that Shrien failed to mention to Anni’s family that he had planned a “surprise” helicopter trip for her, this was supposedly what a large sum of cash he had drawn was to be used for. Not once did Shrien ever mention this “surprise helicopter trip” to his in-laws.

 

In 2021, a new Discovery+ documentary titled “Anni: The Honeymoon Murder” was released to mark the 11th anniversary of her death. This documentary is broken up into four parts, each going over a different part of Anni’s death and the subsequent trial. Monde Mbolombo was interviewed and had the following to say:

 

To tell the truth… I dont know why I didn’t say no, really. I don’t know. I don’t want to make up stories or something, I don't know. That’s the question I’ve been asking myself all these years, why did I say yes? Because of my role, Im still stuck here [in prison]. Im not proud of what I did.”

 

The case of Anni Dewani is nothing short of remarkable in every sense of the word. It is hard to know exactly who to believe. Despite a court ruling, Anni’s family still does not feel they truly know what happened that night. In his interview in the Discovery+ documentary Anni’s uncle, Ashok, said,

 

Still, today, we don’t know exactly what happened. That brings a lot of uncertainty. Guessing what happened and knowing what happened are two different things. We want to know what happened… Every time I speak with my brother, we always bring this subject up. Maybe this happened, maybe that happened. We need to know the truth.”

 

Anni would have celebrated her 40th birthday this year. Her family tries their best to remember the bubbly and happy woman they once knew who was taken far too soon, but her loss has left a hole in their lives that will never be replaced. 

 

As it stands, Shrien Dewani is an innocent man. The accusations against him ruined his life for many years. However, there remains a shadow of doubt, after ploughing through a plethora of untruths and fabrications, his actions following Anni’s murder makes it near impossible to know the truth. Anni’s sister Ami even said, whether Shrien did it or not, it doesn’t matter anymore… All they want to know, is what happened.

 

A crime committed in a developing country, investigated by local police, would not necessarily yield a clear-cut answer to a family who is used to a first-world existence. In a country like South Africa, people have been killed for far less than the items taken from Anni and Shrien that night. Criminals are reckless with firearms and life is cheap. In the context of this case, one has to consider that, perhaps this tragedy was just that: a horrible, senseless crime. 

 

Would a control freak and perfectionist arrange for someone to kill his wife with a taxi driver he had met less than an hour before? Would he only spend 10-minutes explaining what he wanted done – in broad daylight, in a parking lot with CCTV cameras? 

 

If Shrien’s version of events is the truth, one has to consider that, he did in fact ask Tongo about a place where he could change foreign money at a good rate. Perhaps Shrien wanted to make the most of relaxed regulations and exchange a large amount. This meant, Tongo knew Shrien would have a lot of cash. The couple looked every bit like star-crossed lovers. 

 

Playing devil’s advocate, is there perhaps a chance that Tongo, Mbolombo and Qwabe hatched a plot to stage a hijacking, kidnap Anni and try to extort money from Shrien? And when Anni – their most prized stolen piece – tried to escape, Qwabe tried to hold her back, causing the bruising on her thighs. And when she continued, he threatened her with his gun. She tried to push him away and in the struggle a shot was fired, through her hand before entering her neck. 

 

Again, consider the socio-economic circumstances of all three offenders. Committing a murder inside a vehicle of some value, could not have been plan A. It would be covered in blood and confiscated by police for processing. South African thugs STEAL cars, they don’t sacrifice them for another crime. And if a vehicle does get implicated in a crime, they chop it up and sell it for parts quicker than you can say the word robbery. But even if you put that aside… Qwabe was sitting within reach of Anni – if the plan was to kill her all along, why not shoot her in the head or heart? Why in the neck? They could have taken her anywhere, forced her out of the car, shot her and left her there, which would have it far more difficult for police to find them. 

 

The various versions told by the accused raises a huge red flag. Throwing Shrien Dewani under the bus could have been a scapegoat. But for all we know, he truly was the one pulling the strings, hoping that a broken police force would not be able to crack the case – and even if they did, they would never be able to prove it. Hopefully one day, all the lies will melt away and we can stop speculating. Hopefully one day the truth about what happened to Anni will emerge, to give her family the answers they so desperately need.

 

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