SouthAfrica.info (Johannesburg)

9 April 2014

South Africa Pays R2.9 Million for Dewani Transfer

South Africa's Department of Justice and Constitutional Development took no chances on Tuesday, forking out R2.9-million to transfer honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani from Bristol Airport in the UK to Cape Town International Airport.

Dewani arrived at the Cape Town International in a private chartered jet, accompanied by a South African medical doctor, nurse and members of the South African Police Service and Interpol, shortly after 9am on Tuesday.

He was then whisked off to the Western Cape High Court, where he was charged with kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, conspiracy to commit murder and defeating the ends of justice.

The case was postponed to 12 May pending a medical examination to determine whether or not he is fit to stand trial.

Dewani has been accused of orchestrating the murder of his bride, Anni Hindocha. He allegedly ordered local men to carry out a hit and make it look like a fatal carjacking incident. A substantial amount of money was paid for the hit, which occurred in Khayelitsha in November 2010.

Three men have already been imprisoned for the same offence. Xolile Mngeni, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Zola Tongo were convicted of murder between 2010 and 2012. The men were sentenced to life imprisonment, 25 years' imprisonment and 18 years' imprisonment respectively.

Dewani has been fighting removal from the UK, citing mental health problems, including severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Department of Justice spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the choice of a private aircraft was informed by the fact that Dewani's medical condition needed to be constantly monitored and attended to. A commercial flight would have had the potential of compromising Dewani, which could have had an adverse effect on his pending medical examination.

"We took into account the fact that there was undisputed evidence during the extradition hearing that he had displayed suicidal tendencies, and the South African government did not want to take chances," Mhaga said.

"It was therefore paramount that his return to the country was hazard-free, in order to ensure that he eventually makes that court appearance without hindrance."

Lieutenant Anwa Dramat, national head of the police's Hawks special investigating unit, said: "We wish Dewani well as far as his health his concerned, in order for him to be able to tell his side of the story. Our investigating team is ready to resume with the trial. We hope the trial will bring closure to both the Hindocha and Dewani families."

Dewani is being detained at Valkenberg Hospital in Cape Town, where he will receive psychiatric treatment pending his trial.

- SAnews.gov.za

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