With the arrest of a third man by Western Cape police on Saturday and the indication that the authorities have a state witness, the case of the honeymoon murder and hijacking of Anni Dewani, a British tourist, in Gugulethu is starting to come together.
On Friday, the first man arrested, Xolile Mngeni, appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on charges of hijacking and murder.
There have been unconfirmed reports that he has confessed to his part in the crime but the nature of that confession is unclear. The admissibility or otherwise is dealt with in Section 217 of the Criminal Procedures Act 51 of 1977.
Whether it is admissible or not it will assist police in unravelling what took place last Saturday night in Gugulethu. It may indicate the events as well as the players involved.
Subsequent to Mngeni’s arrest, two further men have been arrested and both are expected to appear in court on Monday to face the same charges.
According to in the Weekend Argus quoting Melanie Peters: “It is understood the driver of the taxi shuttle, who was hired by the British couple and picked them up at the airport, has turned state witness. The driver’s lawyer, William da Grass, yesterday confirmed there had been “further developments”.
“His client was taken in for questioning on Thursday and only released on Friday morning. Da Grass told the Weekend Argus that he could “not whisper a word as I would be in serious trouble”.
What is not clear is whether this was the same driver who took Dewani and her husband Shrien Dewani into Gugulethu on the fateful evening. As the couple made an allegedly unexpected deviation on the night in all likelihood it is the same person unless the couple were being followed.
The fact that he has “turned” state witness could indicate his involvement in the tourist’s murder. This will become clear once it is established whether he has been given indemnity from prosecution in terms of Section 204 of the Criminal Procedures Act 51 of 1977.
Of course, the fact that he has hired an attorney points to this being the case.
The best scenario is that the state already has Mngeni’s confession along with the testimony of the driver and compelling forensic evidence. Readers will recall that last week the provincial minister for safety and security — before any arrest — indicated that he knew who the person was.
That seems to indicate that at least one of the murderers left evidence of himself in the car.
Despite reports in the Sunday papers — including ours — Western Cape police say that it has not yet been confirmed whether the husband of the murdered British honeymoon tourist would be returning to South Africa to assist with the investigation.
Police spokesperson Captain Frederick van Wyk said he could not comment on the reports that Shrien Dewani was returning to South Africa.
According to the Sunday Independent, Dewani was on his way back for “an identity parade and to point out crime scenes”.
Saturday newspapers were speculating that the murder might have been a planned hit. If that is the case there can only be one suspect. In order to avoid confusion I repeat that this is pure speculation at this stage.
On Friday, Britain’s the Sun reported that Shrien, who owns a British healthcare company with his father and brother, was £6,25-million in debt.
IOL also quoted Captain van Wyk as saying: “Police are working around the clock to ensure the perpetrators of the crimes are brought to book. Detectives have also seized a firearm this week which could be linked to the crime. Several leads are currently being followed.”
Alex Duval Smith of the UK Sunday Observer said: “… the Swedish-born engineer was shot dead with three bullets. Her husband Shrien, a 31-year-old British businessman, and their driver survived the late-night hijacking of their Volkswagen Sharan among the low-rise houses and clusters of shacks off the N2 highway”.
One thing is clear — if Smith is correct and like many other aspects we looked at on Saturday — the killers wanted to make absolutely sure that Anni was dead. You shoot her three times after allowing two witnesses (Shrien and the driver) to leave the car.
The couple, who wed in India, had only been married for two weeks when they were attacked by two armed men who hijacked their vehicle last Saturday.
They had arrived in South Africa on the Thursday before the incident and were in Cape Town for their honeymoon.
Apparently while returning from a dinner in Somerset West they elected to divert to a Gugulethu hotspot rather than go on to their the Mount Grace, a five-star hotel.
This was to prove to be a fatal mistake.
After leaving a restaurant they were confronted by two armed men who allegedly forced the driver out of the shuttle vehicle and drove off with Dewani (28) and Shrien (31).
Sometime around midnight they dropped off the husband in the Harare area of the Khayelitsha informal settlement and took Anni with them.
According to Shrien, he was assisted by passing motorists who took him to the Harare police station unharmed and where he raised the alarm.
The police then conducted a search for the hijacked vehicle which led to it being found in Lingelethu West at 7am the following morning.
On the back seat of the vehicle they found the body of Anni Dewani.