JOHANNESBURG - A Limpopo businessman allegedly paid a hitman R15,000 to kill his mother.
That's what the state is arguing in Rameez Patel's murder case.
At the time of his mother's death, Patel was out on bail for allegedly killing his wife.
The father of three is applying for bail in the Polokwane Magistrate's Court. Patel's girlfriend described him in a telephone conversation with her ex-husband as an abusive psychopath who hires hitmen to do the job.
The exchange was been played in court.
In the recording, the woman says she fears leaving Patel, as he's threatened to kidnap her children.
She tells her ex-husband that Patel "wanted to put his mother away" because they had been fighting.
Four months after that conversation, Patel's mother was found dead.
On the stand for the defence, Nazrin Mayton said she feared Patel finding out about the recording as he would kill her.
But during cross-examination by the state, she told the court she was under duress at the time of the conversation.
She says her ex-husband told her what to say, and threatened to post nude photographs of her on the internet if she didn't oblige.
A Patel family friend was also on the stand.
She described Patel's relationship with his mother as a loving one.
At least two of the three witnesses who testified for the defence referred to the younger brother of the accused, painting him as a violent man who always had fights with his late mother, thus, seemingly, trying to exonerate the accused.
The state alleges Patel's younger brother has since left the country, fearing he, too, may be killed.
The family's domestic worker has also allegedly left their employ, fearing for her life.
Patel is due to return to court on the 25th of October, when the state will call the investigating officer.