Dept: Dewani R2,9m flight ‘worth it’

Officials said they had to ensure the British businessman’s extradition was smooth and incident free.

Members of the ANC Women's League protest outside the Western Cape High Court on 8 April 2014 ahead of Shrien Dewani's first appearance. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The R3 million spent to fly a mentally ill Shrien Dewani on a private plane from Britain to Cape Town "was worth it", the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development said on Wednesday.

He is accused of masterminding his wife Anni's November 2010 murder while on honeymoon in Cape Town.

After a three year legal battle, Dewani was finally extradited and touched down on South African soil on Tuesday to face charges.

Department spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga says officials wanted to make sure Dewani's extradition was smooth and incident free.

"We are aware that people are concerned with the amount of R2,9 million, but we believe that it was worth it because we were driven by one primary objective - to see to it that when a crime is allegedly committed in this country by a foreign national, he should have his day in court."

The British businessman, who has denied any involvement in the crime, is said to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Mhaga says Dewani's medical condition needed to be constantly monitored and the situation meant a commercial flight had the potential to compromise his condition.

Dewani was charged with murder, kidnapping, robbery and obstructing the administration of justice in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe is presiding over the matter.

The case was postponed to 12 May.

Meanwhile, authorities have confirmed Dewani is under 24 hour police watch at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital in Cape Town.

Dewani arrived at the hospital shortly after his brief court appearance.

Hawks spokesperson Paul Ramaloko says authorities are confident Dewani will recover.

"He is being watched by police 24/7."

The National Prosecuting Authority says it's in everyone's best interests that Dewani is in good health before a trial gets underway.