'Emotional' restorative justice process under way as Dewani wife killer up for parole

2019-05-24 12:52
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GALLERY: Dewani Discharged

Shrien Dewani is a free man after the Western Cape High Court has ruled in favour of his application to be discharged of killing his wife Anni Hindocha. View all the pictures here.

The father of the late Anni Hindocha and the man jailed for her murder while she was on honeymoon with husband Shrien Dewani, took part in an emotional restorative justice meeting this week, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) said on Friday. 

"Let's give them time and space to go through their emotions," DCS Western Cape director Delekile Klaas said, confirming the meeting. He asked for the families' privacy to be respected during this period.

He also explained that Anni's father, Vinod Hindocha, would have met shuttle bus driver Zola Tongo on Thursday, who had entered into a plea and sentence agreement and was jailed for 18 years.

Tongo is eligible for parole from September 6, 2019. In June, there will be a meeting where the possibility of parole will be discussed. The family will submit an impact statement to the parole board on Friday.

Tongo told the court that Briton Shrien Dewani had offered him money to organise her death. The case against Dewani would eventually be dismissed due to contradictory evidence.

Anni was shot dead on November 13, 2010 while the couple was ostensibly being driven to a tavern in Gugulethu, Cape Town while sightseeing.

Tongo at first said they had been hijacked but later in his plea agreement said it was staged in Gugulethu, and she was shot in the neck in Litha Park, Khayelitsha. In his plea agreement, he said he was not present for the shooting, but pleaded guilty to kidnapping, robbery, murder and obstruction of justice. 

His co-accused, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, pleaded guilty to robbery, kidnapping and firearm charges. Running concurrently with the murder charge he pleaded guilty to, he would spend 25 years in jail.

Xolile Mngeni was convicted of Dewani's murder on November 19, 2012, and was thought to be the gunman. He received a life sentence and died in jail as a result of a brain tumour.

Dewani's trial came to an abrupt end in 2014 when Western Cape High Court Judge Jeanette Traverso said the State's evidence had "fallen far below" the level needed to secure a conviction.

WATCH: Judge finds Dewani not guilty of murder 

Dewani was therefore free to go back to the UK. 

Tongo testified that he was to get R5 000 of R15 000 from Dewani before the trial collapsed.

During the trial, the court heard that Dewani was also attracted to men. A plan to question sado-masochism "master" Leopold Leisser, was rejected by Traverso so a hypothesis that he may have wanted out of the marriage was never tested. 

Without referring to the Dewani case specifically, Klaas explained that the DCS used a process called "restorative justice" during the parole processes. 

He said this gave victims or their families an opportunity to get closure and possibly a better understanding of exactly what happened. 

Klaas said in a court environment, generally the accused initially denies charges and later does not provide much detail of what happened. 

If found guilty, after a period of rehabilitation, many will open up more.

For many offenders it offers the first opportunity to say exactly what happened and a chance to apologise.

"The point of this is to give the victims closure."

Klaas said the victims indicate whether they accept the apology, or not, but this is not necessarily what makes or breaks a parole application.

"It is quite an emotional process," said Klaas.

A recommendation on whether Tonga should or should not be released on parole will be prepared after the June meeting, and eventually this goes to the Minister of Justice for a final decision.

*This story has been updated.

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Read more on:    anni hindocha  |  shrien dewani  |  vinod hindocha  |  cape town  |  crime  |  courts
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