Rehab murder case: State withdraws while accused is still on the run

Rehab owner Zaid Isaacs has had murder charges brought against him provisionally withdrawn. Picture: Supplied

Rehab owner Zaid Isaacs has had murder charges brought against him provisionally withdrawn. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 8, 2023


A family from Mitchells Plain in Cape Town has been left in tears after the State provisionally withdrew the case against a rehab owner accused of killing their son, and who is now on the run after he was granted bail.

The heartbroken family of Igshaan Philander from Tafelsig were left speechless at the Western Cape High Court on Friday when preparations for the trial came to a halt as the main accused, Zaid Isaacs, could not be traced.

Isaacs, the owner of Synergy Rehabilitation and Upliftment Centre in Ruyterwacht, was apprehended nearly two years ago after the bludgeoned body of Igshaan was found dumped in Philippi a day after his family was told he had run away from the rehab.

Isaacs, along with Vuyani Kedama, Moegamat Ishmail Jones, and Moegamat Rafiek Ishmail, were arrested, and the rehabilitation centre was closed when it was revealed that Igshaan had not run away, but had allegedly been tortured and beaten to death on the property.

During the bail hearings at Goodwood Magistrate’s Court, shocking details emerged where Jones and Ishmail’s lawyer revealed they were instructed to dump the body and clean Isaacs’ bakkie.

They later handed themselves over to the police and turned on Isaacs.

Igshaan Philander, 35. Picture: Supplied

According to the indictment, Igshaan was held captive for two days at the rehab centre, where he was tortured. The State has alleged that the four men assaulted him for hours by hitting him with their fists and a hammer all over his body. They also allegedly doused him with hand sanitiser and set him alight before using a rope to hang him.

While the bail applications of the accused were denied, Isaacs won an appeal at the high court and was granted R10,000 bail.

In March this year, Isaacs went on the run and has failed to pitch at several pre-trial hearings. A warrant for his arrest was issued, his bail was revoked, and his lawyer also withdrew from the case.

Igshaan’s father Rashaad, said they watched in disbelief as the court heard the matter was being provisionally withdrawn.

“They said they cannot find him and if they do, the case will be brought forward again,” the dad added.

Synergy Rehabilitation and Upliftment Centre in Ruyterwacht. Picture: Supplied

“It is so disappointing that the court even gave him bail in the first place. We were told that there is a new detective, but not once has this new detective made contact with the family or even pitched at court, and the community believes that (Isaacs) running away is proof of his guilt.

“As a family, we are trying to heal, and we want justice for Igshaan, but this is not on,” he said.

National Prosecution Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said: “It’s been provisionally withdrawn pending the arrest of accused one. Accused one was released on bail after his appeal at the high court. He then (ran) away and never attended court. Once he is arrested, the matter will be re-enrolled.”