Shebeen karaoke after Anni’s murder

2011-01-22 15:49

One of the two hitmen accused of murdering Swedish tourist Anni Dewani on her honeymoon in Cape Town allegedly partied after the murder, singing ­karaoke and buying rounds of booze in a shebeen.

Mziwamadoda Qwabe (28) of Khayelitsha is currently in ­custody for the murder of ­Dewani, whose husband, Shrien, is accused by police of ­orchestrating the hit.

Shrien Dewani’s extradition hearing was postponed to ­February 8 in the Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London this week.

A City Press investigation hasestablished that:

» Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni (23), the other alleged hitman, ­desperately sought transport to Gugulethu on the night of the murder;

» Another patron of Sonwabo’s Place – known to regulars as “Sobs shebeen” – innocently gave the alleged killers a lift to the scene of the crime; and

» Mngeni was desperate to get money so that he could undergo ritual ­circumcision.

An hour after the murder was originally due to take place, ­Mngeni and Qwabe were still desperately trying to find a lift.

They asked several people in Sobs shebeen – their favourite drinking hang-out – for a lift, until one of the patrons agreed.

The man, Mwanda Vanda, was picked up and questioned by the police soon after the murder, but was released when it ­became clear that he had played no part in the plot.

Zola Tonga, the driver of the couple’s hijacked taxi, told in his court confession how he met with Mngeni and Qwabe to plan the “hijacking”.

On the night of the murder he allegedly arrived with Shrien Dewani and Anni at the agreed time and place where the bogus hijacking was to happen, but then left because the hitmen were ­nowhere to be seen.

Instead he drove the Dewanis to a restaurant in the Strand and, while the couple were ­having dinner, he called the two hitmen to find out what was ­happening.

Vanda has gone to ground, but a close friend of his mother – who confronted him after she heard of his arrest – said he ­admitted to giving the duo a lift but had no idea what they were allegedly planning.

The woman, who asked not to be named for fear of being ­victimised, said: “They arrived at Sobs and asked several ­people for a lift to Gugulethu, saying they were going to meet friends.

“Mwanda told them he had been drinking and did not want to drive, but then agreed to give them a lift when Qwabe said he would drive the car,” she said.

“There were at least two other people in the car, but they were dropped off on the way.

Mwanda told me they were communicating with someone on the way: there were lots of back-and-forth calls, but he does not know who they were talking to.”

After the killing “there was a bit of a party” at Sobs, with Qwabe entertaining patrons with karaoke singing and splashing out on rounds of drinks for ­patrons.

One resident said: “After we heard about the party, we all wondered where he got the ­money to buy drinks for ­everyone. He is someone who does not have money and he does not have a job.”

Mngeni, who was unemployed and permanently broke, was “suddenly wearing a flashy and expensive pair of new shoes”.

This week a relative and one of his closest friends, Lennox Mngeni, said his cousin had been obsessed by the fact that he was the only one among his friends who had not ­undergone ritual circumcision.

“He was desperate for money to be able to go into the bush,” said Lennox.

“This thing was worrying him all the time. All his friends had been circumcised.

“He felt ­inferior to boys ­younger than him who had been to the bush.

“His granny, who brought him up after his mother died when he was only five, was trying to save money from her small ­government pension to pay for him to go to the bush, but he was impatient; he could not wait any longer,” Lennox said.

The area where Qwabe and Mngeni live is in an older, ­developed part of sprawling Khayelitsha, with tarred roads and small but well-built ­apartheid-era brick houses that many owners have begun ­renovating and ­extending.

Mngeni’s ageing grandmother, Zanyiwe Mngeni, said of him this week: “He is a quiet, ­well-behaved and obedient boy who never answered me back or ­argued when I told him to clean the house.

He just did what he was told to do.

“He cooked for me and brought me tea in bed when my arthritis was bad,” she said. “But I do not know how he behaved outside the house.

“He was in trouble before – ­after he shot another boy during an argument – but he got off that case,” she said.

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