Will Shrien Dewani’s trial be the next Oscar Pistorius moment?

It looks like South Africa is bound to get its next courtroom drama as soon as the Oscar Pistorius trial comes to a close. But is the case against Shrien Dewani ‘juicy’ enough?

SHRIEN DEWANI, accused of being involved in the murder of his wife Anni on their honeymoon to Cape Town in 2010, will likely be extradited to South Africa in less than 28 days. The 33-year-old has lost his last appeal against the extradition procedure earlier this week, and now has only one avenue left to try outside the UK, which is the European Court of Human Rights.

However, with years of cases in backlog, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg may not yield to Dewani’s desired outcome, as he is running out of time to even apply. Dewani has been fighting his case for over three years now and maintains his innocence.

He claims that during his honeymoon in Cape Town, the couple were kidnapped in Gugulethu, a township in the Cape Flats, where Dewani alleges he was released but his wife Anni was later shot and killed by the kidnappers. The actual perpetrator of the crime, Xolile Mngeni, was tried and imprisoned for the murder alongside two confederates in the crime, but has directly implicated Shrien Dewani in the case during his trial.

Businessman Dewani has been undergoing medical treatments for his mental health on grounds of post-traumatic stress since the crime happened, during which time he has been reported as being suicidal. He has been compulsorily been sectioned at a mental health institution in his hometown Bristol under the UK’s Mental Health Act 2007 .

Shrien Dewani’s case may not be as ‘sexy’ as the Pistorius trial but is still bound to make headlines both in South Africa as well as in the UK. The murder story of Anni Dewani plays into universal themes perpetuated in the South African news media, tying crime, tourism and femicide into one single narrative.

Furthermore, the trial will also shed light on the South African criminal justice system, which is already suffering to uphold its image in the light of several mishaps at the onset of the Pistorius trial. If these high-profile cases fail to fulfil the purpose of serving justice, they can hopefully still serve the purpose of at least highlighting the weaknesses of the judicial establishment of South Africa.