The extradition of Shrien Dewani, accused of plotting to murder his bride Anni in Cape Town last year, is on course and SA is waiting for response from Britain on the issue, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said today.
“I want to emphasise that Mr Dewani, like any other South African resident or foreign national is protected under our Constitution to have a free trial and very fair trial, because in our laws we believe in the independence of the judiciary and we uphold the rule of law,” Radebe told the SABC radio news.
“He is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. He has a right to be represented by legal counsel and he can be able to challenge any evidence that can be used against him.”
Dewani faces extradition to South Africa over allegations that he orchestrated Anni’s murder in a staged hijacking in Khayelitsha in November.
Zola Tongo, who was driving the couple, was sentenced to 18 years in jail for finding the hitmen who killed Anni, after he turned State witness and implicated Shrien Dewani in the plot.
Dewani was arrested at a police station in Bristol, England, and released on bail pending an extradition hearing. He has denied any involvement in his wife’s death.
A senior South African investigator, Lieutenant-Colonel Mike Barkhuizen, was reported to have flown to London to meet Scotland Yard detectives preparing the case for Dewani’s extradition.
Meanwhile, National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele, who was criticised by legal experts and MPs for referring to Dewani as a “monkey who came from London to have his wife murdered” jokingly made reference to his faux pas yesterday while handing new vehicles to police officers.
“I am sure there are a few – I almost said apes – bad apples who taint the name of thousands of hard working policemen,” Beeld newspaper quoted Cele as saying.
“I am sure I can call someone from here an ape. But it was a crime when I called someone from London an ape.”