At approximately 13:00 on Tuesday, after more than a month and a half behind bars, Rameez Patel walked into the house he shared with his wife Fatima whom he is accused of killing on 10 April. He was granted bail of R250 000 by Magistrate Mohammed Shaik in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court earlier in the day.
Patel, who was arrested on 16 April, will have to adhere to strict conditions as set out by Shaik. He must report to the Westenburg Police Station three times a day and his children’s passports must also be handed to investigating officer David Nkuna. He will appear in court again on 7 July.
“We are disappointed in the high bail amount as Rameez is only a 10% shareholder in the company he is working for. We are however happy to have him released from custody. He is safe at home,” Shoeb Ahmed, a friend of Patel said after the hearing.
Rameez was arrested six days after his wife was found murdered in their home in Nirvana. She had been brutally assaulted and shot in the face. In the process of applying for bail, Patel appeared before Shaik seven times.
During his first appearance, on 17 April, State Prosecutor Mark von Drunick called Nkuna to the witness stand. During the next session, Nkuna, still in the witness box, collapsed. The state proceeded to question its second witness, Community Policing Forum member Tobias Botha. The third state witness, pathologist Thakadu Mamasela, testified that Fatima had sustained ante mortem (prior to death) injuries. He described them as facial injuries caused by blunt force and which, even without a gunshot to the face, would have been fatal.
After his second court appearance Rameez replaced his initial legal counsel, Stefanie Fourie with Tumi Mokwena, well known defence attorney for Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) Commander-in- Chief Julius Malema.
Mokwena and Von Drunick last Monday commenced to deliver their opening statements and continued on Tuesday.