Johannesburg – Anni Dewani’s father, Vinod Hindocha, has come face to face with his daughter’s killer in the hope of learning the truth behind her murder.
On Friday Hindocha and his brother Ashok met Zola Tongo in his cell, where he is serving an 18-year sentence.
A source told the Mail Online that the Hindochas were meeting Tongo because they feel that he knows more about the murder and withheld details from prosecutors after he was given a lesser jail term in exchange for helping the police in their investigation. The meeting is part of a restorative justice meeting organised by the Department of Correctional Services.
The meeting comes a week before Tongo’s appeal for parole is heard. He is eligible from September and Dewani’s family are expected to submit an impact statement to the parole board.
But the Hindocha family believe Tongo is shedding crocodile tears in his hope of getting an early release.
Dewani was shot dead after she and her billionaire husband Shrien were hijacked by Tongo and two gunman while they were making a detour through Gugulethu in 2010. The newlyweds were honeymooning in Cape Town at the time.
Hindocha would not discuss the meeting, but said that he would not rest until he knew the full story. He had vowed never to return to South Africa after Shrien was cleared of Dewani’s murder in 2014.
Shrien was accused of hiring Tongo to recruit hitmen who would kill Dewani in a staged incident.
Tongo first met the couple when he picked them up from Cape Town Airport in November 2010.
Crucial to the State’s case was CCTV footage that showed Shrien spending more than 10 minutes speaking to Tongo.
The following evening Tongo was driving the couple through Gugulethu when they were hijacked. Shrien managed to escape, while Dewani was found in the abandoned mini bus taxi, the following morning, with a gunshot wound to the neck.
Later that day Shrien was caught on CCTV paying Tongo, which the State claimed was for the hit. Shrien said it was simply cash owed for hiring the vehicle.
Shrien was extradited to South Africa, but the trial against him collapsed after the judge threw out the case.
Tongo’s co-accused, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni, were sentenced to life. Mngeni died in jail from a brain tumour.
Shrien claimed the men had tried to frame him.
Since the trial, Shrien has started a relationship with Brazilian-born photographer Gledison Lopez Martins.
In an affidavit, Hindocha said that neither he, nor his daughter knew before the marriage about Shrien’s secret gay lifestyle, which involved male prostitutes and visiting gay clubs.