Murder for hire: SA's high-profile hitmen
The murder of Anni Dewani put hitmen back in the spotlight. We take a look at six high-profile cases.
CAPE TOWN - The death of honeymooner Anni Dewani has not been far from the headlines since she was killed in alleged hit in 2010. The convicted killers have implicated her husband as the mastermind, who purportedly paid them to stage a fake hijacking in Gugulethu in order to have her murdered. As British businessman Shrien Dewani's trial date nears, EWN takes a look at the high-profile hit cases that made headlines in recent years.
1. Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe & Xolile Mngeni
When news broke of a honeymoon slaying in Cape Town in November 2010, it jolted South Africans, who were still on a post-World Cup high after apparently cementing the country's reputation as top tourist destination. However, it was not long before the story of Anni Dewani's murder took an even more sinister turn.
Three men were arrested shortly after the killing in Khayelitsha. Zola Tongo, who drove the newlywed couple's taxi on the night, said in his plea bargain that Anni's husband Shrien Dewani offered him R15,000 to have his wife killed. One of the 'hijackers' - Mziwamadoda Qwabe - described how he and his accomplice Xolile Mngeni awaited the vehicle and that Mngeni later fired the shot that killed Anni. The triggerman pleaded not guilty but was sentenced to life behind bars despite suffering from a brain tumour. Tongo received an 18 year jail sentence for his part in the killing.
The National Prosecuting Authority has always maintained it will pursue the conviction of the fourth accused - Shrien Dewani - and finally secured his extradition after the British businessman's long battle against returning to face trial, citing mental illness.
2. Mikey Schultz, Nigel McGurk and Faizel 'Kappie' Smith
Watch the trailer for the 204: Getting Away with Murder
The three self-confessed hitmen admitted shooting and killing mining magnate Brett Kebble in Melrose, Johannesburg, on 27 September 2005 in a notorious case. However, all three were offered full immunity for the crime after the state prioritised prosecuting the kingpins who issued the instructions.
The men will soon be appearing in a docu-drama about the killing, due to premiere on 24 October. 204: Getting Away with Murder will see Schultz, McGurk and Smith re-enacting the controversial murder. The film's title refers to the indemnity they received in terms of Section 204 of the Criminal Procedures Act.
3. Sipho Mfazwe, Mongezi Bobotyane, Zanethemba Gwada and Bonginkosi Sigenu
Dina Rodrigues during a graduation ceremony at Pollsmoor prison in 2012 for inmates who had successfully completed various courses. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN
The four men were hired by jealous lover Dina Rodrigues to kill her boyfriend Neil Wilson's baby on 15 June 2005. The trial, which shed light on the shocking details around Baby Jordan's murder, gripped the country.
Gwada and Sigenu could be released on parole soon, after spending just seven years behind bars, after having part of their sentences slashed. This is due to a special remission of sentence President Jacob Zuma gave all offenders on Freedom Day in 2012.
4. Abdoer Emjedi and Waheed Hassen
Abdoer Emjedi, Waheed Hassien and Jefferson Snyders were hired to stage a fake robbery in order to murder musician Taliep Petersen on 16 December 2006.
His wife Najwa was sentenced to 28 years behind bars for masterminding the murder. Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai said Najwa Petersen showed no remorse.
For his role in the killing, Emjedi was jailed for 24 years and Hassien for 25 years. Snyders, who had been found guilty only of robbery, was effectively jailed for seven years.
5. Gerhardus (Doepie) du Plessis and Willem (Tattoo or Pike) Pieterse
Watch a report from the day Andre Gouws revealed that Chanelle Henning's estranged husband paid him to kill her.
Young mother Chanelle Henning was shot dead in November 2011, shortly after dropping off her son at pre-school in Faerie Glen, east of Pretoria. She was embroiled in a custody battle with her estranged husband Nico Henning at the time. His friend Andre Gouws revealed that Henning had paid him to kill Chanelle. Gouws had in turn offered former Nigerian Olympic athlete Ambrose Monye R50,000 to find killers for the job. Both were given life sentences.
While Du Plessis and Pieterse are serving 18-year jail sentences for the murder, the case against Nico Henning has been adjourned to November 2014 to allow police to finalise their investigation. He was given bail of R10 million. A fifth man, Preshan Singh, was sentenced to three years correctional supervision for supplying the weapon.
6. Lolly Jackson's killer
George Louca after a brief appearance in the Kempton Park magistrates court in March 2014. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN
Emmanuel 'Lolly' Jackson, the former Teazers owner, was found shot dead at a house in Johannesburg on 3 May 2010. The self-titled King of Teaze was reportedly shot 15 times. Cypriot national George Louca allegedly confessed to the murder before fleeing the country. But he has always claimed he is just the fall guy for the hit. In February 2014 an almost four-year battle to extradite Louca finally paid off and he was formally charged. The Cypriot is also accused of being involved in organised crime linked to Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir. After delays due to safety fears, Louca's trial is set to start in January 2015.