U.K. suspect to psychiatric hospital, jet irks S. Africans

JOHANNESBURG – A British national accused of plotting his wife's murder during their 2010 honeymoon in Cape Town has been remanded to a psychiatric hospital, amid an uproar over South Africa's decision to hire a private jet to fly him from Britain.

"I think it was excessive for the government to hire a private plane when they could have put Shrien Dewani on a commercial plane," Paul Hoffman, the Director of the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa, told Anadolu Agency.

"That money should have been used for poverty alleviation programs," he added.

The South African government has confirmed hiring a private jet to fly Dewani, his medical team and South African policemen overnight from Britain.

"We took into account the fact that there was undisputed evidence during extradition hearing that he had displayed suicidal tendencies and the SA government did not want to take chances," Justice Department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said in a statement.

"There was a need to ensure him and the whole team is secured," he added.

For the past three years, Dewani's legal representatives have been fighting in court against their client's extradition to South Africa to face trial.

According to local aviation experts, the cost of the private aircraft from Britain to Cape Town could have cost the taxpayer close to $20,000.

"People are still living in appalling conditions 20 years after democracy and what our government does is to hire a private jet to transport a murderer," fumed Madala Mzilikazi, a Johannesburg resident.

"To hell with this government," Mzilikazi told AA.

Dewani, a 34-year-old doctor, appeared at Western Cape High Court earlier today to answer charges of having plotted the murder of his 28-year-old wife, Anni, during their honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010.

He was remanded to a psychiatric hospital pending the resumption of his trial on May 12.

A taxi driver who drove the couple from Cape Town International Airport to a hotel in town in 2010 has confessed to involvement in the murder.

He alleges that Dewani had offered him 15,000 rand (roughly $1400) to kill his new wife. 

Dewani reportedly went with his wife on a sightseeing tour through the Gugulethu Township, where she was shot in a faked attack.

Dewani denies all charges.

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