Shrien Dewani is ‘just an ordinary patient’

2014-06-22 15:00

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Shrien Dewani gets no special treatment at Valkenberg Hospital in Cape Town, a hospital insider has told City Press, he’s just like any other patient at the psychiatric facility.

Dewani’s megawealthy parents, Shila and Prakash, were spotted dropping off a food parcel behind barbed wire fencing at Valkenburg on Thursday, a day before Dewani’s third appearance in a South African court.

It’s not known what they were taking to him, but it’s probably a welcome change from what Valkenberg’s kitchen produces, the insider said.

Dewani’s parents are allowed to visit their 33-year-old son at the institution for two hours every day, City Press has learnt.

The insider says that while Dewani’s situation is “rigidly controlled”, staff there are not giving him preferential treatment.

“No one is starstruck – life at Valkenburg is

just going on. Every now and again there are police vehicles, which we know are for him,” the source said.

“His privacy is being respected. I never got a sense that he was treated any differently.”

The source admitted that the facility certainly “isn’t easy on the eye, with furniture from donkey’s years ago” and that its kitchen “doesn’t whip up five-star cuisine”.

Mainly, inmates eat stews and pastas. Kosher, halal and vegetarian diets are catered for, he said.

Dewani could stand trial for the murder of his wife Anni from October 6 if he is found fit to do so by a local panel of medical experts, the Western Cape High Court heard on Friday.

Provincial director of public prosecutions Rodney de Kock brought an application for Dewani’s mental health to be officially observed in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act – because mental health reports by Valkenberg psychiatrist Dr Sean Baumann and Professor Tuviah Zabow, acting on behalf of Dewani, reached different conclusions.

The court ruled that he must now remain under observation in his cell in the general ward at Valkenburg until his next appearance on August 15, when a ruling on De Kock’s application will be made.

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