Polokwane – Prominent Limpopo businessman Rameez Patel killed his wife with a cricket bat before strangling her, the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane heard on Wednesday.
This was the evidence of Sibongile Ngwenya, a former employee of Patel, whose statement was read out in court.
This after the court had earlier ruled in favour of the State’s application that Ngwenya’s hearsay evidence and that of another former employee Danny Gundiza, may be presented for interrogation. Judge Joseph Raulinga made the ruling earlier on Wednesday after reviewing the statements.
The trial has gone ahead despite the absence of Ngwenya and Gundiza who had apparently previously lodged a complaint against the department of justice and correctional service’s witness protection programme for “low compensation”. The duo, Zimbabwe nationals, have since left the country and police have struggled to track them down.
But in Ngwenya’s statement, details emerge of how she overheard Patel explain how he had killed his wife, Fatima.
“I was in the passage when I overheard Patel saying, ‘I hit her with a cricket bat, and she fell on the floor. There were strangers outside, she was screaming and I strangled her’,” read Ngwenya’s statement.
While Patel’s lawyer Tumi Mokoena said it was irregular for the court to accept hearsay evidence, the court found that it was in the interests of justice.
Patel is standing trial for Fatima’s murder. She was shot and killed in 2015.
In a separate matter, Patel was arrested last week while he was out on bail in connection with the murder of his mother.
On Tuesday, the court heard that Patel’s brother, a witness, had fled the country fearing that his life was in danger.
The trial continues.