Anni Dewani's 'lowlife' killer who planned honeymoon murder freed after eight years

22 June 2022, 09:47

Anni Dewani's killer freed
Anni Dewani's killer freed. Picture: Supplied

By Stephen Rigley

A taxi driver who planned the murder of honeymoon bride Anni Dewani in South Africa has been freed from jail after just eight years.

Anni, 28, was shot dead in a cab driven by Zola Tongo in 2010 after it was hijacked by two gunman in a crime-riddled suburb of Cape Town.

He and two other men - who claimed millionaire care home boss Shrien Dewani, had arranged a hit on his wife - were found guilty of Anni's murder in South Africa.

At a trial in 2014, Shrien, now 42 from Bristol, was acquitted of arranging the murder of Anni in Cape Town, just days after the wedding, as a judge said the evidence against him was insufficient and “riddled with contradictions”.

It has emerged that despite serving less than half his 18-year sentenced Tongo, has been released from Malmesbury prison in South Africa after being described as a "model prisoner."

The authorities decision to free "lowlife" Tongo has been slammed by Swedish-born Anni's familly.

Shrien and Anni Dewani
Shrien and Anni Dewani. Picture: Supplied
Zola Tongo
Zola Tongo. Picture: Supplied

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Her uncle Ashok Hindocha told the Daily Mail: “My beautiful niece’s life has been taken and this creature Tongo is now free to walk the streets.

“Of course nothing will bring Anni back, but this lowlife character drove her to her death."

”Ashok and Anni’s father Vinod went to see Tongo in his Cape Town jail last year and were able to stop a parole bid before Tongo's parole was withdrawn a day before he was due to walk free for good behaviour.

Ashok said the family believe Tongo has more information about what happened to Anni than he has told the police.

“We gave him the opportunity to tell us what he has been hiding and who he has been protecting, but he refused,”

Ashok said.“We truly believe he has more information about how the whole murder was arranged and carried out.

“I heard that Tongo hasn’t been keeping in good health while in prison. I don’t wish him well.’

Vinod added: “We will not rest until all the facts have been revealed about how she was murdered and why.”

Dewani and Anni, married in a traditional Hindu ceremony in Mumbai and flew to Cape Town for their honeymoon.

They were touring the outskirts of the city in a taxi when they were kidnapped at gunpoint on November 13, 2010. He was later released unharmed, but his wife was shot dead.

Care home tycoon Dewani’s trial for Anni's murder was dramatically cut short in 2014 when a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

During the trial he revealed he had been visiting gay prostitutes and was bisexual – his sexuality had not been disclosed to his or Anni’s family at the time of his wedding.

Prosecutors had alleged Dewani was so desperate to get out of an unwanted marriage he recruited Tongo to kill his wife during a staged carjacking.

Tongo's parole was granted on a number of conditions, including house detention, a community service order and a ban of drinking alcohol and taking drugs. 

Hitman Mziwamadoda Qwabe also pleaded guilty to murder and is serving a 25-year sentence.

The man who fired the shot that killed Anni, Xolile Mngeni, died from cancer in prison while serving his sentence.