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Dewani need not be bored at Valkenberg

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IOL pic mar4 shrien dewani file

AP

Murder accused Shrien Dewani. File picture: Matt Dunham

Cape Town - Cooking, belly dancing, sewing and salon visits – these are just some of the activities Shrien Dewani may be able to participate in if he is held at Valkenberg Hospital.

Dewani is expected to be extradited from the UK and arrive in Cape Town on Tuesday.

According to court documents, if he is denied bail by the Western Cape High Court, or if he receives bail but it is found that he cannot make informed decisions and needs the State to provide care for him, he will be kept at Valkenberg in a general psychiatric ward.

Health Department spokesman Mark van der Heever said on Wednesday: “Mr Dewani will be treated like any other patient at the hospital and receive quality care.”

If Dewani is kept at Valkenberg, he could benefit from the Friends of Valkenberg Trust – a group of volunteers who work closely with hospital staff to promote the recovery of patients.

Dewani is accused of masterminding his wife, Anni’s murder in Khayelitsha in 2010.

On Wednesday, a person linked to the Friends of Valkenberg Trust, who declined to be named, said all patients at Valkenberg could use the trust’s services.

She said it ran a number of recovery groups.

The trust’s website says: “Volunteers run cooking groups, belly dancing classes, arts and crafts lessons, sewing projects – and more.

“Patients return week after week for the fun and sense of accomplishment they take away.”

Dignity was necessary for recovery and so the trust offered “beauty therapy projects”, the website said.

“Once a week, patients can have their hair washed, cut, and styled free of charge at our hair salon. They enter our salon as regular patients and leave feeling beautiful and confident.”

A shop sells a range of items, including clothing.

“The shop is an oasis where people can come for a break from the ward and practise the management of their limited finances,” the site said.

It details the experience of Robert, who spent three months at Valkenberg.

“I used to get in a lot of fights at Valkenberg. I don’t know why,” he is quoted as saying.

“I guess I was just aggressive and angry that I didn’t know anyone there.

“I was mad at my family, too. Why did they let me come here? My father said the doctors were helping me, but I didn’t agree…

“When I got to know the staff, it was nice. I’ll never forget some of them…

“The Friends of Valkenberg had a lot of options for us. I tried a few of them, like cooking, beading, and yoga. My favourite was cooking.”

A R978 million revitalisation project is under way at Valkenberg, with construction expected to wrap up in mid-2016.

A press release said that other than treating people for serious psychiatric disorders, the hospital would have a forensic psychiatry service that would provide court assessments and care for State patients.

caryn.dolley@inl.co.za

Cape Times


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