Cape Town - A lawyer for Xolile Mngeni - jailed for life for his role in Anni Dewani’s murder - is to investigate what more can be done to get him medical parole, which Minister of Correctional Services Michael Masutha recently refused him because he believed he might not receive the care he needed.
Matthews Dayimani, who represented Mngeni during his trial, said he felt that the “most humane thing” to do was to let Mngeni spend his “final days” with his family.
Mngeni would, he said, still have access to medical treatment and care.
“We will assist and investigate and see what else can be done so the concerns of the parole board can be addressed,” he told the Cape Times.
Mngeni was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011 and later received treatment.
The minister’s spokesman, Mthunzi Mhaga, was quoted as saying: “The correctional centre where he is incarcerated has the resources to provide him with adequate assistance.”
National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro) advocacy manager Venessa Padayachee said that while Nicro was not specifically familiar with Mngeni’s case, they had been working on a few case studies of inmates who were either applying for medical parole or had been granted medical parole and had been unable to find family members or appropriate facilities that could cater for them in their communities.
Some frail care centres or medical centres might require the inmate to have a disability grant to pay for the costs of treatment if they became resident.
“The act (Correctional Service Amendment Act) is silent about at whose expense treatment and accommodation would be, so one can understand the minister’s decision that perhaps it is easier to have the inmate taken care of in the correctional facility itself,” said Padayachee.
She added, however, that they were not sure that all correctional centres were indeed adequately equipped to deal with these conditions, as it has been indicated in past Judicial Inspectorate annual reports that health care within the Department of Correctional Services had issues such as shortages of medical supplies and medical staff, and lack of appropriate equipment.
Inmates often had to be sent to general hospitals for treatment.
Padayachee said they supported that further investigation be done to secure a suitable place for Mngeni in the community, which would give him the option to re-apply for medical parole.
The Western Cape High Court convicted and jailed Mngeni for life in 2012 for Dewani’s murder.
He was also sentenced to 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances and to five years for possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, to run concurrently with his life term.
Newlywed Dewani was murdered in November 2010 while on honeymoon in Cape Town with her British husband Shrien Dewani, who stands accused of orchestrating the killing.
Two other men have been convicted in connection with the murder.