3 minute read
6 Oct 2014
2:26 pm

Shrien Dewani explains why honeymoon was in SA

British businessman Shrien Dewani chose to honeymoon with his wife Anni in South Africa because the country's initials matched their own, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

FILE PICTURE: British businessman Shrien Dewani, accused of the murder of his wife Anni, is seen in the back of a police vehicle as he leaves the Western Cape High Court on Friday, 15 August 2014. Dewani has been found fit to stand trial. He would go on trial on October 6. Dewani claimed that he and his wife Anni were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through Gugulethu in Cape Town in a taxi in November 2010. The couple had been on honeymoon in the country. He was released unharmed, but his wife's body was found in the abandoned car the next day. She had been shot dead. Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht/SAPA

“Neither of us had been to South Africa before and as it happens the acronym ‘SA’ matched our initials,” his lawyer Francois van Zyl read out in Dewani’s plea explanation.

Dewani earlier pleaded not guilty to killing his wife, and to other related charges. He claims the couple were hijacked as they were being driven through Gugulethu, Cape Town, in a minibus taxi on Saturday, November 13, 2010, while on their honeymoon. According to him the hijackers forced him out and drove off with Anni. She was found dead in the minibus the following morning.

According to Dewani’s plea the two made their way to the country on first-class tickets on November 8, 2010 and enjoyed a safari.

On November 11, they arrived at the Cape Town International Airport and Dewani went to look for a taxi to the Cape Grace hotel while Anni stayed with their luggage.

He said the first people he spoke to in Cape Town were a group of taxi drivers. One of them, Zola Tongo, asked if he needed a lift because he did VIP transfers.

“He told us that he was an executive tour guide and that he had chauffeured a number of VIPs in the past… he was in effect trying to sell his services,” Dewani stated in the plea document.

While in the taxi, Tongo mentioned he was a bachelor and enjoyed the bachelor lifestyle.

“We mentioned my stag party in Las Vegas and the helicopter trip I had organised with my friends. At this stage I thought that arranging something similar for Anni would be a good surprise,” Van Zyl read.

He paid Tongo when they got to the hotel and asked about organising a private helicopter trip.

Tongo apparently said he could arrange this at a cost of between R20,000 and R25,000. Dewani offered R15,000 and Tongo said he would see what he could do.

He asked where he could exchange his British pounds into rands and Tongo offered to take him to a special place in town. That evening, they were out having dinner and Dewani realised he did not have his phone with him.

He found it in his hotel room and saw Tongo had tried calling him and then left a text message.

Tongo was to pick them up at midday the following day. He told Dewani that the helicopter pilot would want the R15,000 off the books and in cash. Dewani agreed to the conditions.

Tongo and two other Capetonians have already stood trial for the murder and were jailed.

Tongo said in a plea bargain that Dewani had offered him R15,000 to have Anni killed. He was jailed for 18 years in December 2010.

Accomplices Mziwamadoda Qwabe, and Xolile Mngeni – who shot Anni – were jailed for 25 years and life respectively in 2012.

Earlier, it was revealed that Dewani was bisexual and had sexual interactions with both sexes.

Dewani is charged with murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, conspiracy to commit these crimes, and defeating the ends of justice.


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