Cape Town – A small group of activists are picketing outside the offices of the National Prosecuting Authority in Cape Town on Friday in protest against the granting of bail to convicted murderer Jason Rohde.
They are particularly aggrieved by the Supreme Court of Appeal's decision on Wednesday despite President Cyril Ramaphosa's reassurances in September that no rapists or murderers would get bail.
In accepting the decision to grant Rohde bail set at R200 000, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said they would now concentrate on preparing for his appeal, while noting that "this is a dissenting (divided) judgment".
Wendy Pikeur, from the Ubuntu Rural Women and Youth movement, said granting bail to offenders convicted of crimes against women and children sends out the wrong message, the SABC reported.
"The president told us in September that no rapist or murderers will get bail. but this week we saw Jason Rohde got R200 000 bail, which he could pay easily, because he is a rich man.
"Now what message are we sending across when we allow people to just pay off something and they get out on bail," said Pikeur.
The bail was granted while Rohde awaited to appeal his conviction and 20-year sentence for killing his wife Susan.
SCA Judge Christiaan van der Merwe granted the bail with a number of conditions, including a guarantee payment of R1 million to the Western Cape High Court.
“Should the applicant need to be in Joburg or Cape Town to attend court cases or conduct business, he shall reside in Lonehill Village in Joburg and at Green Point in Cape Town.
“(Rohde) shall notify the commanding officer of Plettenberg Bay police station in person two days prior to his departure when he is travelling to Joburg or Cape Town and will set out the duration of such a stay, which period shall not exceed five weekdays for each such stay away from Plettenberg Bay,” Judge Van der Merwe ruled.
Rohde was also to report to the police station twice a week between set hours, and he has been prohibited from applying for any passport.
Rohde was found guilty of murdering Susan and for defeating the ends of justice for staging her murder as a suicide at the Spier Wine Estate in 2016.
In papers previously before the court, Rohde had stated that he wanted to be released on bail so he could attend to his business affairs and maintain his children financially.
Judge Caroline Nicholls said that he has “no possibility of a non-custodial sentence should his appeal be dismissed”.
“It is also on record how unpalatable (Rohde) finds conditions in prison. This must be taken together with the fact that Rohde holds three different passports.
“He has dual citizenship with South Africa and Australia and has British citizenship which he holds by virtue of England being his country of birth. He resided with his family in Australia for several years in the 1990s.
“We are informed that all three passports are in police custody and have expired. But this does not preclude Rohde from renewing his passports. What is important is his past life has been one of international mobility.
“Nor can it be ignored that South Africa’s borders are notoriously porous,” Judge Nicholls said.