Dewani: SA needs to make good on its promises - Times LIVE
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Dewani: SA needs to make good on its promises

The Editor, The Times Newspaper | 2011-09-29 00:11:55.0
Shrien Dewani arrives for his extradition hearing, at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in London May 3, 2011.
Image by: PAUL HACKETT / Reuters

The Times Editorial: Wealthy British businessman Shrien Dewani is a step closer to standing trial in South Africa for the murder of his new wife, Anni.

Dewani, who has repeatedly professed his innocence and has declared that he will not get a free trial in this country, lost his court battle to avoid extradition on August 10.

Yesterday, the South African authorities were informed that British Home Secretary Theresa May had signed Dewani's extradition order.

Dewani, who is said to be suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder, has been given 14 days' notice to make a final appeal, if he so wishes - but the National Prosecuting Authority has vowed to fight tooth and nail to ensure that such a petition is not successful.

The stakes are extremely high in this case, which attracted international media attention, and South Africa's image as a safe tourist destination - boosted by the successful hosting of the soccer World Cup - was tarnished during an initial blaze of negative publicity.

But it became evident, in the days after newlywed Anni was shot dead after the taxi in which she and her husband were travelling was hijacked in Guguletu, Cape Town, that this was no random murder.

One of the four men arrested later admitted his part in the crime, claiming in a plea agreement that Dewani had ordered the hijacking and paid for a hit on his wife.

The case has thrown the spotlight on the often appalling conditions in South Africa's prisons, and rash statements made by National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele did not help the cause of our justice authorities.

But South African officials have assured their British counterparts that Dewani will get a fair trial, and that he will be protected while in prison, where he will be kept in a single cell.

With the world's eyes on us once again, we now need to make good on our promises.


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