The Department of Correctional Services (DCS)has defended its decision to grant parole to the man who who was found guilty of the murder of Swedish tourist Anni Dewani.
Zola Tongo’s parole will take effect in June.
Dewani’s body was found with a gunshot wound to the neck in an abandoned car in Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats in November, 2010. At the time reports suggested that Dewani and her husband Shrien had been hijacked while on their honeymoon in Cape Town.
Shrien survived the ordeal and was later accused of orchestrating the murder, however, the case was dismissed due to a lack of evidence.
In the video below Shrien Dewani is acquitted: 8 December 2014
The department says Tongo who was sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to Dewani’s murder, held a victim and offender dialogue with the Hindocha family on Thursday.
The department’s spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo, explains:
“The Department of Correctional Services can confirm that the correctional supervision and parole board has placed inmate Zola Tongo on parole effective from 23 June 2022 until the 6th of June 2028. That is when his sentence will expire. The DCS will then utilise the period up until the release date for pre-release programmes.”
Meanwhile, Dewani’s family has criticised South Africa’s justice system. Dewani’s uncle Ashok Hindocha who was in the country for the parole hearing, says they are disappointed that their efforts to oppose the department’s decision to grant Tongo parole have been in vain.
“My brother, he doesn’t want to talk. He is so disappointed. This is not what we hoped for. Listening to the parole board, listening to Zola Tongo and the arguments that was put forward – I don’t think that it helped anything because the parole board has already decided. Why did they call us 11 000 kilometers away just to let him out anyway. Before this case, right to the end we said this man is not ready. Even after giving him this opportunity to just tell us what happened.”
Zola Tongo testifying against Shrien Dewani: 28 October 2014