Johannesburg: A South African man on Wednesday pleaded guilty of being hired by a British-Indian to kill his honeymooning wife and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, raising the prospects of early extradition and trial of the accused businessman husband.
Mziwamadoda Qwabe was one of two men accused by prosecution of being hired by British-Indian businessman Shrien Dewani to kill 28-year-old Anni Dewani, a Swedish of Indian-origin, in a township near Cape Town during the couple`s honeymoon in November 2010.
Qwabe pleaded guilty to kidnapping, robbery, murder and illegal possession of a firearm and the Western Cape High Court sentenced him on all counts - 15 years for robbery, five years each for kidnapping and illegal possession of a firearm and 25 years for murder.
In March, a British court had ruled against immediate extradition of Shrien to South Africa, saying it would be "unjust and oppressive".
The judges cited Shrien`s mental condition since his arrest in December 2010 for the ruling, but left the door open saying that Shrien would recover "within a reasonable time" and could then be sent to South Africa.
Shrien has repeatedly denied all the allegations.
The robbery, kidnapping and firearm terms would run concurrently with the murder sentence, Judge John Hlophe said.
Qwabe earlier pleaded guilty to all charges. His lawyer Daniel Theunissen said he had signed a plea agreement, according to South Africa`s SAPA news agency.
Qwabe, who was dressed in numerous jackets to ward off the cold, kept his head down during proceedings and repeatedly frowned.
He used one of the jackets to hide his face while being led off to the cells, as photographers flocked around the dock to get a picture of him.
Anni was shot in an apparent car hijacking while on honeymoon with her husband Shrien in Cape Town in November 2010.
In the plea agreement, Qwabe admitted to kidnapping Anni in Gugulethu with co-accused Xolile Mngeni, Zola Tonga and Shrien, on or about November 13.