‘I’m proud of how we handled Dewani case’Comment on this story
Cape Town - The investigation into Anni Dewani’s murder “was conducted professionally” and South Africa’s global standing has been enhanced as a result, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says.
Anni’s husband Shrien Dewani, who managed to evade extradition for more than three years, is to leave the UK on Monday night and will arrive in Cape Town on Tuesday.
He is accused of masterminding Anni’s murder, which he allegedly ordered to look like a hijacking in Khayelitsha in 2010.
“The case has received widespread coverage both in South Africa and abroad and I believe our international stature has been enhanced because of the absolutely correct way we approached it,” Mthethwa told the Cape Times on Sunday in an emailed response to questions.
“This enhanced South Africa’s image as that of a country which follows the rule of law and can be trusted in policing matters…
“The trial is certain to receive major international and local media coverage and I am confident that observers will be impressed by what they see,” he said.
Justice authorities will brief the media at the Western Cape High Court on Monday. It is here Dewani will make his first appearance in a local court.
Anni’s uncle, Ashok Hindocha, told the Cape Times he planned to hold a press conference in London on Monday.
If Dewani is found guilty in a South African court and sentenced, he is likely to be held in Malmesbury Medium A Correctional Centre, or Brandvlei New Correctional Centre in Worcester.
He would likely be held separately in a cell of six square metres with a toilet and basin with hot and cold water.
On Sunday, Mthethwa said he was happy with the convictions of Dewani’s three co-accused,and was pleased that “after a long drawn out process”, Dewani’s extradition had been finalised.
It was important, he said, that “Mr Dewani has his day in court” and that Anni’s family received justice and closure.
“The police investigation has been conducted professionally and with sensitivity and we, as a country, can be proud that faced with expensive and challenging legal action to bring Mr Dewani to face trial in South Africa, we did not hesitate to do the right thing, costly though it was in time and money,” Mthethwa said.
He thought the case showed that the criminal justice system was effective and that regardless of background or location, suspects would be held accountable.
“I think that ensuring that Mr Dewani comes back to be tried in South Africa is extremely important and sends out a message that no one is above the law.
“However, it is also not the job of the police to make any kind of judgment in this case; that is the duty of the courts. What I can say is that the Hawks believe their investigation was thorough and fair and directly led to a murder charge against Mr Dewani,” Mthethwa said.
It was not yet clear what the case had cost the South African government.
According to a document on the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service’s website, which detailed costs until early last year, staff from the South African justice department had spent 505.7 hours on the case and the department had paid more than R1.3 million for the services of barristers working on the case on its behalf.
The Crown Prosecution Service is the UK government’s department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases.
Dewani’s extradition had been halted a number of times based on mental health grounds – according to court documents he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
If within 18 months after his arrival in Cape Town Dewani, was found unfit to plead, he would be sent back to the UK.
1 – Accused still to be tried.
3 – The number of people convicted so far.
40 – The number of months lapsed trying to get Shrien Dewani extradited.
505 – The minimum hours of work by UK prosecution authorities.
15 000 – The amount in rands Shrien Dewani allegedly offered to have his wife killed.
1.3 million – The minimum amount in rands spent by the UK criminal prosecution department.