Man who helped orchestrate hit on Anni Dewani released on parole

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Zola Tongo.
Zola Tongo.
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  • Zola Tongo, 42, has been released on parole.
  • He was handed an 18-year sentence on 7 December 2010, a month after Dewani's murder.
  • Tongo's parole will be effective from 21 June 2022 to 6 June 2028.

Twelve years after being sentenced for his role in the murder of Anni Dewani, Zola Tongo was released on parole on Tuesday.

Tongo, as part of a plea agreement, was handed an 18-year sentence on 7 December 2010, a month after Dewani's murder. The shuttle bus driver who helped organise the hit pleaded guilty to kidnapping, robbery, murder, and obstruction of justice.

Tongo's parole would be effective from 21 June 2022 to 6 June 2028, Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said, confirming he was no longer behind bars.

READ | Anger of murdered Anni Dewani's father as her killer is granted parole

Tongo was granted parole two years ago, but it was revoked a day before the 42-year-old inmate was supposed to be released.

Tongo had in his admissions claimed that Dewani's husband, Shrien, had offered to pay him to organise his wife's murder during their honeymoon in Cape Town.

Shrien and Anni Dewani on their wedding day.

According to his version, he had not been present at the time she was shot on 13 November 2010. The 28-year-old Dewani, née Hindocha, was found in the back of a taxi in Khayelitsha with a single gunshot wound following a supposed hijacking.

Tongo’s co-accused, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, was jailed for 25 years, while Xolile Mngeni, who fired the fatal shot, was handed a life sentence. He died in jail from a brain tumour.

Shrien was arrested in the UK, but the Western Cape High Court later discharged him as a result of contradictory evidence.

He returned to his home country.

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