Durban: A four part documentary on Anni Dewani’s death was released for streaming by the Discovery series channel yesterday (SAT), coinciding with the 11th anniversary of her death.
Producers of the crime docu series have used CCTV footage, testimony from investigating officers, interviews with legal teams, the Hindocha family and the hotel receptionist Monde Mbolombo who received immunity from prosecution and became a state witness.
The first episode of Anni: The Honeymoon Murder, is titled Murder, and delves into the honeymoon couple’s hijacking ordeal and the beginning of the investigation. In the next episode, police are in search of the murder suspects, while the third instalment looks at the motive, and the final episode on the trial and its outcomes.
Dewani arrived in Cape Town on honeymoon with her billionaire British husband Shrien Dewani and the couple stayed at the Cape Grace Hotel. On November 13, 2010, after a dinner date their taxi back to the hotel was hijacked at gunpoint in Gugulethu. Shrien was able to escape, but Anni was found the following morning in Khayelitsha with fatal gunshot wounds.
Three days after the murder, the Western Cape police arrested Xolile Mngeni from Khayelitsha and charged him with kidnapping, murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Shortly thereafter, Zola Tongo, the hotel shuttle driver, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and hotel receptionist Mbolombo were also arrested and they implicated Shrien as the mastermind of the crime.
It was alleged that Shrien befriended Tongo who then approached Mbolombo looking for a hitman. Tongo allegedly told Mbolombo that Shrien had ordered a hit on his wife and wanted it to look like a hijacking. Qwabe and Mngeni were also recruited for the job.
The first to be convicted was Tongo, he pleaded guilty, detailed his involvement and was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. Qwabe also pleaded guilty and received 25 years in prison, while Mngeni was tried and convicted to life imprisonment.
Shrien, who had been allowed to leave the country shortly after his wife’s death, was eventually arrested and fought to avoid being jailed.
An extradition process was initiated by the South African government, however, Shrien was not prepared to face the courts. In early 2011, Shrien’s legal representatives said their client was suffering from an acute stress disorder which halted the extradition process. Months later, he was admitted to the Fromeside Clinic for mental health reasons.
The South African authorities pressed on until the extradition was granted in 2013. His trial began the following year with his accomplices testifying against him. It also emerged that Shrien was bisexual and had been in communication with a number of male prostitutes at the time. A man known as “The German Master” testified in court that he had met Shrien.
However, in late November the trial was thrown out of court, due to insufficient evidence and contradicting witness testimonies. Shrien was never convicted.
Anni’s father Vinod Hindocha, was still emotional yesterday and did not want to comment on the documentary, but shared a video with the Sunday Tribune celebrating the life of his daughter.
“Another year has passed and it still feels like yesterday you were still here laughing, joking and enjoying your life,” he said. “I miss you so much my wonderful angel sister.”
The Sunday Tribune