The man accused of kidnapping and murdering Durban woman, Siam Lee has finally been granted bail.
Philani Ntuli was arrested in connection with the murder and disappearance of the former Crawford College pupil, whose charred remains were discovered in a sugar cane field in New Hanover, KwaZulu-Natal in January this year.
After a protracted process, Judge Mohamed Motala granted him bail of R40 000 after ruling that he had put forward exceptional circumstances which warranted his release.
Ntuli had prior run-ins with the law, including allegations of domestic abuse brought against him by his ex-fiance.
“It must be emphasised that he has not been found guilty on all the charges,” said Motala.
The businessman, who was apprehended with assistance from a private investigator, had alleged that police had attempted to coerce a specific confession out of him.
The court also heard that the police had entered Ntuli’s home without a search warrant and, during his bail application, he claimed that he was assaulted on the day of his arrest.
Lee went missing on 4 January and, after an extensive search, her body was discovered burnt in the KZN Midlands town.
During the police investigation, it emerged that she had been working as a sex worker, and Ntuli was her last client before her disappearance.
As News24 reports, the Magistrate considered the 29-year-old personal circumstances in granting him bail.
According to Ntuli, his business was not doing well during the period in which he was incarcerated, and that is affecting his 17 employees who are facing financial strain in his absence.
Ntuli’s release will come with a few conditions, as he will have to report to the Alexandra police station in Pietermaritzburg every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and will also have to do the same when in Johannesburg, as he also has business interests there.
He has also been ordered not to contact or communicate with State witnesses and has been asked to hand in any travel documents to cancel out the risk of him skipping the country.
Ntuli’s next court appearance will be on 17 August.