NPA: Plea strengthens case against Dewani

2012-08-08 22:00

Cape Town - The plea agreement of a man who killed honeymooner Anni Dewani will strengthen the case against her husband and a co-accused, the NPA said on Wednesday.

"We are very happy and satisfied with the agreement because the agreement gives us new information on what happened on that night when Anni Dewani was killed," Western Cape National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said.

"It confirms that [her husband] Shrien Dewani was part of the plan... it also tells us Xolile Mngeni was the one who did the shooting."

He said the agreement was a positive step towards ensuring justice for the slain bride, her family and friends.

On Wednesday, Mziwamadoda Qwabe pleaded guilty to four counts in the Western Cape High Court and was jailed for 25 years.

Judge John Hlophe imposed 15 years' imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances, five years each for kidnapping and illegal possession of a firearm, and 25 years for murder.

He said the robbery, kidnapping and firearm terms would run concurrently with the murder sentence.

Dewani, 28, was shot in an apparent car hijacking while on honeymoon with her husband Shrien in Cape Town in November 2010.

The plea agreement offered insight into the apparent sequence of events that fateful night and implicated Shrien Dewani as the conspirator of a contract killing.

Qwabe alleged that he was contacted on 12 November by a man named Monde, who said he needed a "job" done.

Zola Tonga, who was jailed for 18 years as part of a plea bargain, allegedly co-ordinated the job on Monde's behalf.

Qwabe alleged that he and Mngeni agreed to the job in exchange for R15 000, which would be left in the cubby-hole of the vehicle.

"The agreement was that Zola and the husband would be unharmed and that the deceased would be kidnapped, robbed and killed," he said in the plea agreement.

"The kidnapping and robbery were part of the plan to make it appear that this was a random criminal act, unconnected to Zola or the husband."

He admitted assaulting her with a firearm to force her into submission, and robbing her of a Giorgio Armani watch, a gold and diamond bracelet, a handbag and her cellphone. Her possessions were worth about R90 000.

He further pleaded guilty to driving Dewani to Ilitha Park, in Khayelitsha, where Mngeni shot her in the neck from the front passenger seat.

Shrien Dewani has repeatedly denied the allegations against him. He is being treated in the UK for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

At the end of July, his lawyer Claire Montgomery told the Westminster Magistrate's Court that keeping her client under medical treatment in the UK for 12 months would speed up his recovery, rather than jeopardise it by sending him to South Africa.

The British Press Association reported that the hearing was adjourned to 18 September for a psychiatrist to examine Dewani and give the court more information about his condition.

Only then would a decision be made on whether he was fit to stand trial in Cape Town.

Ntabazalila said Mngeni would appear in court on Monday for a pre-trial conference.

His trial could start the same day, depending on the results of a medical report to be revealed in court.

Mngeni was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour and his lawyer had questioned his ability to concentrate during proceedings.

  • scheepers - 2012-08-08 22:28

    Shrien really didn't enjoy married life.

  • delish7564 - 2012-08-08 22:49

    No doubt now it will take Dewani longer than a year to be in any "fit mental state" to stand trial and there will be even more excuses as to why he can't stand trial over here. Let's finish this once and for all, the longer you put it off Dewani, the worse it will be for you. Have the guts to stand up to your accusers and prove them wrong, after all if you are innocent, you have nothing to worry about. What a pity more compassion was not shown to your wife - I can't even begin to imagine how terrified she must have been, poor girl. May she rest in peace!! Hopefully her family will get closure, sooner rather than later.

      phillip.beukes.5 - 2012-08-08 23:03

      If you have your wife of a few days executed by strangers, says a huge amount about your mental state...

  • Sherry Graham - 2012-08-09 01:17

    If he is innocent then why not try to cooperate in any way possible. Surely he would then be doing everything he could to see justice served. He is abusing the legal system. He will play it out until the end.

  • ant.duke - 2012-08-09 04:37

    We must remember that it was clown-cop Cele who let this murderer leave SA...

  • liz.ceruti - 2012-08-09 06:53

    Hmmm surely if you commit a crime such as a planned murder, it would be "normal" to suffer from depression and post traumatic distress ??? I would certainly hope so. So if all the criminals are found to be needing "time" to recover from this, there would be no-one being accountable for their crimes? All the accused would be "in therapy" and no-one would be brought to account for their actions in a system of justice???? What a cop 0ut. Dewani you need to prove your innocence in court, or take your due punishment.

  • josie.russell.10 - 2012-08-09 07:03

    So if we commit a crime and then cry depression we can get off scot free? He had SAs murder his wife now let the B*****d rot in a SA jail!!!

  • MARKVDM - 2012-08-09 07:28

    Hey Dewani come here boet....stand trial and be found'll be out on medical parole within a month or two.......

  • Sittingbourne - 2012-08-09 07:30

    Suffering from depressiom and post traumatic stress disorder be damned. He's guilty, end of. He just doesn't want to face what's coming to him. Some of us here in the UK are following this story with interest as there are too many criminals who suddenly become too 'ill' to stand trial!

  • enlightened.bowman - 2012-08-09 09:13

    can someone explain to me: - Does it matter whether he has P.T.S.S and depression here or in the UK? -Am I right in assuming he will share a room with a whole bunch of people with similar issues, some much worse and theycan surely assist his councelling? -I read he hired male Eskorts.Well I am certain he has already been asigned a nice smelly daddy that will "fill" his day and fulfill his fantasies even more often than he was used to and should Daddy feel not up tot the job, another nice person will surely see to his comfort AND he won't have to pay for it. You see Shrien,it's not so bad, you could actually enjoy it here. It depends a bit on your state of mind, excuse the pun. Oh, of course, there is one issue. I hope you enjoy South African pumpkin soup because you're sure as hell gonna have a lot of it

  • richardnealejohn.underwood - 2012-08-09 19:56

    In the past there used to be law & justice in England and in South Africa its shot to bits now. Legally the only criteria under consideration is this: What was his mental state at the time that the crime was perpetrated? The other consideration is whether he is fit to stand trial meaning does he know where he is and whats going on,if lucid but depressed doesnt cut it.If he's nuts he should be in a looney bin. If he is not presently in one then he is fully competent to stand trial.

  • nasheenar - 2012-08-10 08:40

    Depressed or not you still need to stand trial. Im sure all our prisoners in jail suffer with some form of depression when they get caught. They dont get given a year to come to terms with it.This man has had more rights and leniency purely cos his family has money. Payign for him to stay out of jail.

  • vanessa.govender.73 - 2012-08-13 10:32

    if such allegations surrounded a South African comitting a crime of this nature in the UK ... you can bet that whole country would be up in arms for justice.. and make no mistake JUSTICE would nont be waylaid by drivel of mental anguish and all that rubbish!

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