Dewani: police probe Eastern Cape hit link
Accused knew widow of murdered doctor
SHRIEN DEWANI walked out of a London court yesterday – on bail of R2.7 million. But now Eastern Cape police are investigating whether he was involved in the hijacking and shooting of a King William’s Town doctor three years ago.
Dewani, who was accused in a dramatic plea bargain by Cape Town taxi driver Zola Tongo this week of arranging the hijacking and murder of his bride Anni in Gugulethu four weeks ago for R15 000, was arrested by British police on Wednesday.
The millionaire care home owner was released on bail from London’s Wandsworth prison last night. He will wear an electronic tag and is under strict curfew as the South African government prepares to have him extradited to face trial here.
Togo also said that Dewani, husband of murdered Anni Dewani, told the taxi driver that he had previously arranged for someone to be killed in a fake hijacking in South Africa.
King William’s Town police are now trying to link Dewani’s alleged remark to the unsolved murder of Dr Pox Raghavjee in October 2007.
Immediately after Anni’s murder, Raghavjee’s widow, Heather Raghavjee, came to Cape Town to comfort Dewani.
Police spokesman Captain Thozama Solani confirmed they were investigating if there were any links between the two murders.
“The case remains open and has remained a mystery to us because even though there was a R100 000 reward offered there were no leads. But in the light of the new information we are putting all we have got into solving the case.”
At the time of the doctor’s death, police were unable to establish a motive for his killing as his cellphone, watch and wallet with R500 in it were found on the scene.
The following year the family hired a private investigator but no leads were found.
King William’s Town businessman Peter Dhaya, a close family friend of the Dewanis, is the man who drove Heather Raghavjee to Cape Town on the Monday morning after Shrien’s father Prakash Dewani told them of his daughterin-law’s murder.
Dhaya told Weekend Argus they had come to Cape Town to support and comfort Shrien. And he confirmed that Prakash and his family had visited King William’s Town in December and stayed with him.
Meanwhile, Tongo’s family has “humbly apologised” to Anni Dewani’s family and the country for his role in her murder.
Yesterday his aunt, Nokwanda Tongo, said the family offered condolences to Anni’s family.
“We know it will not bring your child back. We humbly apologise for Zola’s role.”
She also apologised to the country for the damage the case has caused its reputation.
She and Tongo’s mother, Liziwe, planned to visit him in prison today.
“We are in shock and would like some answers,” she said.
Tongo’s aunt said his mother was too traumatised to speak to the media. She was admitted to hospital for a week after she heard that her son had been arrested.
“This is a huge shock for all of us that Zola could be involved in something like this. He comes from a good family. He worked hard and was quiet. He was not a criminal and was not involved in crimes or with gangsters. We are all asking questions – why did he do it?”
Dewani, following the British court’s decision to grant him bail, is now free to fight his extradition to South Africa from home.
In the Western Cape High Court earlier this week, Tongo said that Dewani offered to pay him R15 000 for Anni’s murder.
Tongo claimed he was told to make it look like a hijacking as they drove through Gugulethu.
In a plea-bargain agreement, Tongo was sentenced to an effective 18 years for murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and perverting the course of justice.
Dewani handed himself to police in Bristol and appeared in the City of Westminster Magistrate’s Court on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder, hours after Tongo’s statement was read in the Western Cape High Court .
Two other men, Xolile Mnguni, 23, and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 25, face charges of murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping.
They are expected to appear in court in February.
A fourth suspect, Monde Mbolombo, who used to work for Protea Hotel Colosseum, was named in court papers as the link between Tongo and the two alleged gunmen.
FREE, FOR NOW: Shrien Dewani is out on R2.7m bail.