Dewani’s mental health must be assessed quickly — NPA

Aspects of Britain’s High Court ruling to temporarily halt the extradition of businessman Shrien Dewani to South Africa were welcomed by the NPA on Friday.

“We are particularly pleased by the ruling that… the conditions in South African prisons would not violate Mr Dewani’s human rights and that it is in the interests of justice that Mr Dewani stand trial in South Africa as soon as he is fit to be tried,” National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said in a statement.

“It is also important to note that the Dewani defence team did not contend that he would not receive a fair trial in South Africa.”

French news agency AFP reported that the ruling was made on Friday after Dewani’s lawyers said he was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression.

High Court Judges John Thomas and Duncan Ouseley said it would be “unjust and oppressive” to order the removal of Dewani, who is currently being treated in a mental health hospital in his home town of Bristol, western England.

However, they said it was in the interests of justice that he be extradited to face trial in South Africa “as soon as he is fit”.

Mhaga said it was important to assess Dewani’s mental health quickly.

“It is in the interest of justice to facilitate his recovery so that the trial can proceed sooner rather than later,” he said.

The extradition hearing will be enrolled before British Chief Magistrate Judge Riddle within 28 days.

Mhaga said Riddle would manage the further conduct of the proceedings, including additional reports on Dewani’s mental health.

“Upon receipt of these reports [and] any other material he deems appropriate, he will be called upon to decide whether Mr Dewani is fit to stand trial and be extradited to South Africa.”

Dewani has strongly denied arranging the contract killing of his 28-year-old wife Anni, who was shot in an apparent hijacking in Cape Town in November 2010.

Their taxi driver, Zola Tongo, who was jailed for 18 years for his part in the crime, claimed in a plea bargain with prosecutors that the businessman ordered the hijacking and paid for a hit on his wife.

Dewani was arrested in Britain on December 7, 2010 following an extradition request from South Africa.

A British judge approved his extradition in August but Dewani’s lawyers appealed. — Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories


Subscribers only

How lottery execs received dubious payments through a private company

The National Lottery Commission is being investigated by the SIU for alleged corruption and maladministration, including suspicious payments made to senior NLC employees between 2016 and 2017

Pandemic hobbles learners’ futures

South African schools have yet to open for the 2021 academic year and experts are sounding the alarm over lost learning time, especially in the crucial grades one and 12

More top stories

Egypt, Seychelles get first jabs

The two countries have rolled out China’s Sinopharm vaccine, but data issues are likely to keep some countries from doing the same

Fashion’s future is bricks and clicks

Lockdown forced reluctant South African clothing retail stores online: although foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores remains important in a mall culture like ours, the secret to success is innovation

What the Biden presidency may mean for Africa

The new US administration has an interest and much expertise in Africa. But given the scale of the priorities the administration faces, Africa must not expect to feature too prominently

Zuma, Zondo play the waiting game

The former president says he will talk once the courts have ruled, but the head of the state capture inquiry appears resigned to letting the clock run out as the commission's deadline nears

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…