Cape Town - The Khayelitsha gunman who was sentenced to life imprisonment for the honeymoon murder of Swedish tourist Anni Hindocha Dewani died in prison on Saturday.
Western Cape Commissioner of Correctional Services Delekile Klaas said Xolile Mngeni’s family had been notified as well as the Directorate of Public Prosecutions.
Mngeni’s advocate, Matthews Dayimane, earlier this week told Weekend Argus that Mngeni had taken a turn for the worse and that his family had asked him to arrange for his client to be released to his family. The family had reported that Mngeni was weak and had stopped eating.
Mngeni’s grandmother, Zanyiwe, who raised him, was upset as she recalled visiting her grandson last Sunday.
He had been unable to respond to her questions coherently, she said.
As a pensioner she had been unable to afford regular prison visits because this required her to take three taxis from Khayelitsha to Goodwood Prison.
She had intended to visit him after her next pension payment, and Dayimane had intended to visit Mngeni in prison on Tuesday to discuss securing medical parole.
Mngeni was fingered as the one who fired the shot that killed Anni while she was on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010. He was 23 at the time.
Anni’s husband, Shrien Dewani, who is accused of paying to have her killed, is on trial in the Western Cape High Court.
Mngeni was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011. He had been diagnosed with pineoblastoma – a rare form of cancer with a low survival rate. However, after surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, his condition improved enough for him to be tried for the murder.
At the end of 2012 Mngeni was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Earlier this year, Mngeni was admitted to Groote Schuur Hospital in a critical condition. But his condition stabilised and he returned to prison. He failed to secure his release on medical parole.
Klaas said the judicial inspectorate would now conduct an independent investigation into the cause of death.
Mngeni’s body had been sent to the mortuary and would undergo an autopsy.