Shrien Dewani, a Chartered Accountant from London, has been depressed since 2010 following the murder of his wife Anni Dewani when a taxi they were travelling in was hijacked in Gugulethu Township near Cape Town. The couple was on honeymoon when Anni was killed.
When the news of Anni’s murder surfaced, it sparked global media attention and gave citizens of the world the impression that Anni had become another random victim of South African crime. However, shortly after she was killed, it was revealed that her husband was the mastermind behind her murder.
The taxi driver, Zolani Tongo, confessed that he worked with Shrien to orchestrate the murder. According to Tongo, Shrien paid him R15 000 and asked him to hire a hitman to kill Anni. CCTV footage from the hotel where they met supported Tongo’s claims. He and Shrien were seen meeting several times in the absence of Anni, 24 hours before the shooting.
Later, Shrien was seen giving Tongo a package full of cash. Tongo was then seen taking it to the toilet and counting the money. He then organized the hitmen, Xolile Mngeni and Mzwamadoda Qwabe, who “hijacked” the taxi and brutally murdered Anni. Tongo and Qwabe were, respectively, sentenced to 18 and 25 years in prison. Mngeni, who fired the shot that killed Anni, was sentenced to life in prison. Shrien was unharmed in this incident, which left many people perplexed as to why the killers would target a defenseless woman and not the men.
South African authorities applied for the extradition of Shrien. However, due to his poor mental health, they were unsuccessful. From 2010, Shrien suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and clinical depression. Despite South African officials promising they would cater for his health needs, his legal team argued that he could not be extradited to South Africa as he was unfit for trial.
Although Dewani’s illness could be serious, it has somewhat made him look suspicious in the eyes of the public. There are many people who believe that it is his excuse to avoid facing trial, most probably because he has something to hide. They say if he is innocent, he should stop wasting time, come to South Africa and tell the truth. Recent reports indicate that Dewani’s health has substantially improved and that he is likely to return to South Africa and face trial soon. His extradition hearing continues on Tuesday.