British businessman Shrien Dewani, 30, has been accused in a South African court of offering Â£1,300 to murder his wife Anni Dewani, 28. Anni Dewani was married just days before she was murdered during her honeymoon in South Africa. Her car was hijacked on November 13, 2010 as it took a detour through Gugulethu, one of the poorest townships of Cape Town. Her husband Shrien Dewani was released by their attackers and his wife’s body was found on the back seat of the abandoned car the following morning. She had been shot in the neck, chest and hand. Mr. Dewani told one newspaper that his wife wanted to see “the real Africa.”
The couple met when Mrs. Dewani came to Britain last year to stay with her cousin Sneha. After a quick courtship, they became engaged in June. The young couple had a “fairy tale” Hindu ceremony in Mumbai, surrounded by family and friends, just two weeks before the attack. They started their honeymoon with a four-day safari near South Africa’s Kruger Park and had been in Cape Town for only a day when the carjacking took place.
The break in the investigation came with the confession of the cab driver hired by Mr. Dewani. The cab driver Zola Tongo gave evidence under a plea bargain deal with the state, telling the court “the deceased was murdered at the instance of her husband.” Zola was one of the three charged with the killing of the woman and has been sentenced to 18 years for the crime. The driver told the court that Dewani had offered 15,000 South African Rands (1,300 pounds) to do away with his wife.
Innocent until proven guilty, Dewani is currently out on bail. This case has caused potential harm to South African tourism industry. To ensure that tourism flourishes in the region, defenders of Dewani state that the South African government have a reason to scapegoat the husband.
Dewani stands by his innocence. Ten days after his wife was killed, Shrien Dewani gave an interview to Britain’s Sun newspaper, saying, “I’d searched high and low for my perfect partner. Anni was the ‘One’. Her looks, her laughter, her personality, her spirit â€“ everything about her was right for me. Why would I want to kill her? People who suggest this could not have seen us together. Saying I was somehow involved simply defies logic.”
Still certain facts in the case don’t add up. For example, Dewani stated that he was thrown from the van window before his wife was killed. But the first witness on the scene, Simbonile Matokazi, 33, a local government auditor, says the businessman did not appear to have been thrown from the car on to sand, as Mr Dewani initially claimed. Neither does Mr Matokaziâ€™s testimony support the 30-year-oldâ€™s later assertion that he was dragged â€˜struggling and screamingâ€™ out of the passenger window. He said Mr Dewani â€˜had a suit on and a nice shirt underneathâ€™ and looked neither ruffled nor bruised. â€˜We just saw a decent guy,â€™ he added. Mr Matokaziâ€™s observations were endorsed by a police source closely involved in the investigation. â€˜The officer who reached him [Mr Dewani] said that it didnâ€™t look like he was hurt,â€™ said the source. â€˜He saw no injuries or anything. And there was no sand on his clothes.
Shrien Dewani was previously engaged to the daughter of a tycoon who founded the Indian budget airline SpiceJet. In February 2009 Mr Dewani suddenly cancelled plans for the wedding, despite protests from his fiancee, Rani Kansagra, and her family. South African detectives are considering Dewani’s sexual orientation as a motive for murder.