Dewani hitman sentenced to life in prison

A man convicted of murdering Swedish honeymooner Anni Dewani in South Africa two years ago was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday.

Dewani hitman sentenced to life in prison

Sentencing Xolile Mngeni, 25, Judge Robert Henney told him he was a “merciless and evil person” who had “committed an act of premeditated murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.”

Two other local men have been jailed over the killing and have claimed that Anni’s husband Shrien Dewani ordered the hit.

Mngeni was found guilty of firing the shot that killed Dewani who had been married for just two weeks when she was killed in November 2010, in what prosecutors say was a faked hijacking.

Mngeni, a suspected small-time drug dealer, plotted with two co-accused to carry out the murder for 15,000 rand (now $1,700), the court in Cape town heard.

“In the case of murder this court is obliged to impose a sentence of life imprisonment,” Henney said.

“In the case of robbery with aggravating circumstances, this court is obliged to impose a sentence of 15 years imprisonment.”

Dewani’s father, Vinod Hindocha, was present in court and stared at Henney with a blank expression as the judgment was read out.

Henney said he had taken into account the fact that Mngeni, who lived in a slum and had only a primary school education, came from a poor background and that he had been diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer.

Mngeni had undergone chemotherapy, but there was a high chance that the tumour would recur in the future.

But the judge said it would be unfair and unjust to show leniency to “a merciless and evil person, who has consistently shown no remorse”.

Anni Dewani’s family had flown from London to Cape Town on Tuesday to hear Mngeni’s sentencing.

“I wanted to look into Mngeni’s eyes, to see, when he was sentenced,” Vinod Hindocha said on the steps of the court, “that is why I came all this way.”

Hindocha said the “full picture” would only emerge once Shrien Dewani came to Cape Town” to face his hearing.

“Me and my wife have not slept a night since Anni was murdered. Shrien holds the key to that.”

“We need all the questions answered so that we can move on with our lives.”

Hindocha said he and his family would fight on until they had justice.

On Monday a British court ruled Shrien was not yet fit to face extradition to South Africa.

Shrien Dewani was now a “husk” of a man who suffers flashbacks of the night his bride was killed, a British judge heard as he set the murder suspect’s extradition hearing for July.

AFP/The Local

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Denmark bans travel from South Africa over new virus variant

Denmark said it is barring entry to non-Danish residents of South Africa due to fears over the spread of a new variant of the coronavirus there.

Denmark bans travel from South Africa over new virus variant
Passengers at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, in December 2020. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

South Africans and other foreign nationals who reside in Denmark will be allowed to return to Denmark from South Africa under the restrictions.

Denmark has not recorded any cases of the new variant, which was detected by South African authorities in mid-December and has since been found in a number of other countries.

The South African variant and another which has emerged in Britain are said to be more infectious versions of the virus, and have prompted widespread concern. The two variants are not the same as each other.

Denmark's decision came into effect Wednesday and will last until January 17th.

“This means that foreigners residing in South Africa generally will be refused entry to Denmark during this period,” the justice ministry said in a statement late Tuesday.

The following groups from South Africa can be exempted and granted entry to Denmark:

  • Primary carers for children under the age of consent (upon documentation of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 24 hours of arrival in Denmark)
  • Family or partners to seriously ill or dying persons in Denmark (upon documentation of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 24 hours of arrival in Denmark)
  • Inward travel for the purpose of goods transport

Denmark, which is under a partial lockdown since mid-December, has almost 90 cases of the new British variant.

It has already barred entry to arrivals from Britain except for Danish nationals and permanent residents, who must present a negative virus test.

READ ALSO: Residents of Denmark returning from UK must take Covid-19 test within 24 hours of travel

Authorities said Tuesday they were toughening coronavirus restrictions and urged people to avoid social contacts.

“Stay at home as much as you can, don't meet people outside your household, those close to you,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a press conference.