In a startling new development in the police’s all-out drive to solve the murder of British honeymooner Anni Dewani, investigators think the Gugulethu hijacking of Anni and her husband Shrien Dewani may have been a planned hit. They have said “an explosive revelation” would be made soon.
This information came from a well-placed police source yesterday, just under a week after Anni Dewani, 28, was shot dead in a case that has made international headlines.
Yesterday the British tabloid The Sun reported that Shrien Dewani, 30, who owns PSP Healthcare, a British health care company, with his father and brother, was £6.25 million (about R70 million) in debt.
But while the police source told Weekend Argus that there was more to the case than a random hijacking, the source said the police believed Shrien Dewani was not involved in the crime and was devastated.
And despite national police commissioner Bheki Cele telling a press conference on Thursday that there was no evidence that Dewani had been sexually assaulted, a Khayelitsha student has suggested this might not be true.
The student, who asked not to be named, told Weekend Argus that she saw Anni Dewani’s body in the hijacked vehicle in Lingelethu West on Sunday morning.
“When the policeman opened the door I saw blood. Her panties were pulled below her knees and her dress pushed up to her stomach. She was exposed and her face was turned towards the door. The policeman quickly closed the door and pushed us away.”
The police also said the driver of the shuttle taxi, who was thrown out of the vehicle early in the attack last Saturday night, was taken in for questioning on Thursday and kept overnight.
The driver is understood to be highly fearful for his safety. He has already been named in the British press but not identified in South Africa.
Xolile Mngeni, 26, of Khayelitsha, appeared in the Wynberg Regional Court on Thursday on charges of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
A second suspect, also a 26-year-old man from Khayelitsha, is due to appear in court on Monday, and police are looking for two more people believed to work for two top Cape Town hotels.
Police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk yesterday said that he could not say more than what had been said at the press briefing on Thursday held by national police commissioner Bheki Cele.
The couple was hijacked at about 11pm on Saturday after apparently deciding on a whim to turn off the N2 from Somerset West to check out Gugulethu’s nightlife. Within minutes they had been hijacked and the driver pushed out of the shuttle. The hijackers drove around for some time, and Shrien Dewani was told to get out in Harare, Khayelitsha, where he raised the alarm.
Anni Dewani’s body, with a bullet wound to the neck, was found in the vehicle around 7am on Sunday in Lingelethu West, Khayelitsha.
The attack has dimmed the glowing reputation South Africa earned as a tourist destination during the World Cup. With the media from both Britain and Sweden – Anni Dewani’s home country – watching, the pressure was on the police to act with urgency.
Some hours after Anni Dewani’s body was found, crack police Swat teams swooped on the homes of known criminals in Gugulethu and Khayelitsha looking for a man with a gold tooth called Thulani.
A former criminal known as Thulani, who spoke to the Weekend Argus on condition of anonymity, told how a quiet Sunday afternoon turned into a terrifying ordeal for his Gugulethu family when more than 10 police vehicles with blaring sirens surrounded their home and members of the swat team stormed into their house and ordered everyone onto the floor.
Thulani, 25, said the police ordered every one to lie down on the floor including his sickly 60-year-old uncle. “They said they were looking for Thulani. They took down everybody’s name and demanded to see our IDs. They then searched the house. When I told them I was Thulani they put me in the back of the police van and took me to the police station.”
This week in an interview with the Daily Mirror, Shrien Dewani said they been looking for Mzoli’s, a restaurant praised by Jamie Oliver, and were in a dangerous area after their taxi driver had lost his bearings.
In fact they would have been disappointed had they reached Mzoli’s – it closes at 7pm.
Dewani said he pleaded with the kidnappers not to be split from Anni but they put a gun to his head and pushed him out of the moving vehicle.
“I have an enormous amount of guilt but having gone through events over and over again in my mind, it is difficult to see how we could have done things differently,” he told the Mirror. He later helped SA detectives in a reconstruction of the events.
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