Anni’s family’s last battle for the truth
Cape Town - An inquest into the murder of Anni Hindocha while on honeymoon in Cape Town five years ago, which starts on Wednesday in a UK court, could see a new investigation being opened in London.
The inquest is perhaps the last chance Anni’s family will hear from her husband Shrien Dewani, 35, who was acquitted of her murder in December last year, what happened on the night of her murder in 2010.
The inquest by coroner Andrew Walker may see Dewani testifying - making it the first time he gives his account in a court about what happened.
Dewani was acquitted by Western Cape Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso in last December after she said the evidence in the case was contradictory and she saw no prospect of a conviction.
Dewani was accused of masterminding the botched hijacking in Gugulethu, that saw Anni, 28, shot and killed, while the British couple was on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.
He was alleged to have enlisted the services of taxi driver Zola Tongo to hire a hitman. Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni were said to have been paid R15 000 to stage the hijacking and kill Anni.
Tongo was sentenced to 18 years in prison after a plea agreement with the State while Qwabe was given 25 years and Mngeni was sentenced to life for shooting Anni.
After fighting extradition to be tried in South Africa, Dewani stood trial in the Western Cape High Court, after England District Judge Howard Riddle ruled he could be extradited to South Africa in August 2011. Dewani vehemently denied any involvement in his wife’s murder.
Now Dewani may take the stand and give a full account, under oath, of what happened. Should Walker find further discrepancies about Anni’s murder, another investigation could be launched.
The coroner is due to decide on the scope of the inquest at the hearing in London on Wednesday. This will mean the family could hear from Dewani what happened on that fateful night and answers to questions they had for five years may be answered.
But Anni’s uncle, Ashok Hindocha said while the family didn’t have high hopes that he could testify, they wanted to hear from Dewani: “We hope he speaks up.
“That is what we have been fighting for, to have (our) questions answered.
“The South African justice system did not allow us that. We thought it would run smoothly in South Africa and that he would speak up.”
Hindocha added that the family plans on leaving for London on Tuesday to be at the hearing on Wednesday.
He said he would be flying to London from Sweden on Tuesday to meet up with the rest of the family.
“We just want to be there and see what options we have to take this thing forward, we don’t have any high hopes,” he told the Cape Argus from Sweden on Sunday.
Hindocha, pictured, said losing Anni had not become easier for the family, especially because Dewani was still carrying on with his life and going to “fancy restaurants and (we’re) seeing footage of him in Kenya”.
“It is not easier, it’s almost the other way around and not knowing is probably what is hurting us more.
“We don’t even know who shot Anni and we don’t even know why,” he said.
Hindocha said he will be meeting with the lawyer that will be representing the family on Tuesday.
“I can’t comment on the justice system of another country but when it comes to Anni’s case, she did not get justice in South Africa.
“We want to know what happened, who shot her and why.
“We never got any of these answers,” he said.
Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority’s spokesman for the Western Cape, Eric Ntabazalila, said no representatives from South Africa’s prosecuting body would be present at Wednesday’s hearing.