SA’s judicial system ‘really disappointed us’
THE father of honeymoon murder victim Anni Dewani has finally spoken out about the acquittal of her husband Shrien Dewani, charging the decision was “a shame for the South African judicial system”.
“The South African judicial system really disappointed us. When the judge does not allow evidence to be brought in front of her, how can she make a decision?” Vinod Hindocha asked this week.
He was speaking from his family home in Mariestad, Sweden, about his new book, which gives intimate glimpses into his daughter’s life and how the family believes her innocent nature blinded her to a web of deceit and finally led to her murder.
It was reported yesterday that a formal complaint against the trial judge, Western Cape High Court Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso, had been lodged by the Higher Education Transformation Network. The complaint, to the Judicial Service Commission, was around her conduct during the Dewani trial.
Network chairman Lucky Thekisho charged that Judge Traverso undermined the court’s authority and integrity by showing prejudice to prosecutor Adrian Mopp, and she had erred in freeing Dewani.
“It was a shame for the South African judicial system,” Hindocha said this week.
Hindocha told the Weekend Argus of how he wrote 80 000 words about his daughter, pushing through excruciating emotions and coping with Dewani’s acquittal.
“Believe me, it was so hard… How many tears we’ve cried… These words are the truth. And it’s all about Anni.”
Hindocha wrote the book, Anni Dewani: A Father’s Story, over eight months along with UK journalist Shekhar Bhatia.
It will be published by the UK’s Mirror Books next month.
Hindocha plans to fly to the UK ahead of the launch.
He wrote of the most crucial events in the case against Dewani, who the State accused of orchestrating Anni’s murder in Khayelitsha on November 13, 2010, while on honeymoon.
It was alleged Dewani hired hitmen who were tasked with making Anni’s killing look like a hijacking gone wrong.
After battling extradition for years, Dewani was brought back to South Africa. But he flew back to the UK last month after the case was controversially thrown out.
Hindocha said he had not entertained the thought of contacting Dewani about the book.
“I wouldn’t want to involve him. It’s my book.
“It’s about my Anni, about the way she was, a very, very innocent girl.
“People will get to know who Anni was and how she was deceived. About how she trusted (Dewani). She wouldn’t have hurt a fly. She gave her life for that,” he said.
The book also delved into how the Hindochas, who waited for years to see Dewani stand trial, were dealt a major blow when the case against him was thrown out of court.
Part of his reason for going ahead with the book was that his family wanted the world to know who his daughter had really been, and what she had stood for.
The book contains “hundreds” of photographs of her, from childhood through to the 28-year-old she was at the time of her murder.
“It has been very, very sensitive for us, but we wanted to tell who this girl was.
“Many, many people die in the world every day.
“But not many are remembered the way Anni is,” Hindocha said, referring to the international hype around the murder and the countless people from various countries who supported his family.
“I have made so many new friends since Anni (was killed),” he said.
The book was also intended to keep the memory of Anni alive for him and his family.
“We hope that through it she will become the daughter of the world,” Hindocha said.
Proceeds from the sale of the book, which will be available as a paperback and online, will go to needy organisations on behalf of Anni.
“Each and every penny is going to a charity in her name,” her father said.
Her family had not yet decided on specific charities and this would be decided based on book sales.
A description of the book on the Mirror Collection website says it is “a full, frank and ultimately heartbreaking account of Anni’s life from childhood through to the conclusion of the trial of her husband Shrien in Cape Town, four years after her murder”.
It said shocking news had followed after Anni’s murder.
“Anni’s loving family were faced with the horrific reality of the loss of their beloved daughter in the most tragic and brutal circumstances.”
But worse was to come.
“As the investigation into her murder began, the family quickly had to confront the possibility that Anni’s death might have been orchestrated by the one person she should have been able to trust above all others – her husband.”
The description says the book is from Hindocha’s perspective.
“This is the extraordinary story of how one family has coped with seeing their hopes for their daughter’s future being so cruelly extinguished, how they tried to live with, and through the aftermath, their efforts to see justice done, and ultimately their attempts to reconcile themselves with the court’s verdict and a future without their beautiful Anni.”