A second murder accused who was set to join Limpopo businessman and murder accused Rameez Patel in the dock for his bail application, has escaped from custody and is said to be in Zimbabwe, the Polokwane Magistrate's Court heard on Tuesday.
Patel was arrested in September 2017 in connection with the murder of his mother, Mahjebeen Patel. The second accused is believed to be the hitman.
"We had hoped that accused number two will join the accused. Unfortunately, he escaped from a police cell, so we need the guidance from the Director of Public Prosecutions [on] whether to continue with [the] accused alone or wait for [the] extradition of [the] second accused," prosecutor Mashudu Mudau told court when he requested that the case be postponed.
Details of how the second accused escaped from the police cells have not been revealed.
Patel wants to be released on bail. He had been out on R250 000 bail for the 2015 murder of his wife Fatima, when his mother was shot and killed at the family house in Nirvana, a suburb of Polokwane.
The case has been postponed to July 30 so that the State can decide the route it should take with regards to the missing accused.
Meanwhile, Patel will return to the Limpopo High Court on Wednesday, where he is on trial for the murder of his wife.
Last week the court ruled in favour of the recall of his brother Razeen Patel, so that he can give further evidence, after he claimed he felt threatened when he gave evidence the first time.
Razeen fled to the United Kingdom shortly after his mother's death.
Concerns have been raised about whether the State's case could be comprised, after several key witnesses, including a former employee of Patel, released themselves from the witness protection programme.
News24 previously reported that, in late August 2016, Patel's father Feroz was killed in broad daylight, in what was initially believed to be an armed robbery.
However, police investigations found that nothing had been stolen.