Businessman and convicted murderer Jason Rohde is expected to be released from Drakenstein Prison in Paarl by the end of Thursday.
On Wednesday, Rohde’s attorney Tony Mostert told News24 his client was likely to be released by Thursday after he was granted R200 000 bail and a bank guarantee of R1m by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.
Free to celebrate Christmas outside the confines of a prison cell, his bail conditions stipulate that he must live at his home in Plettenberg Bay ahead of his pending appeal against his conviction and sentence for the murder of his wife, Susan, and the staging of her suicide at a hotel on the Spier wine estate in Stellenbosch three years ago.
He will be allowed to travel to conduct business and attend court cases, and live at specified addresses in Lonehill, Johannesburg, or Green Point on the Atlantic Seaboard.
He can’t be away from Plettenberg Bay for longer than five week days at a time and has to sign in at the local police station twice a week.
Expected to be part of his welcoming party upon his release is his lover Jolene Alterskye, who Netwerk24 reported has been visiting him regularly in prison over the past 10 months.
According to the publication, she first visited him on March 24, a month into his 20-year prison sentence.
Twelve visits followed, with the most recent on Sunday.
Her first seven visits were non-contact visits.
Sources told Netwerk24 that six months into his sentence, he became an A-group prisoner which allows him more privileges – one being three hour-long visits a month.
The pair had their first contact visit on September 1.
Alterskye referred the publication to her lawyer William Booth when she was approached for comment.
Booth, however, declined because Alterskye has a pending case against her.
News24 previously reported that Alterskye’s comments about Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe, who convicted and sentenced Rohde, as well as the detectives whose investigation sealed his fate, resulted in charges of crimen injuria against her.
Alterskye had earlier this year issued an apology to Salie-Hlophe and prosecutor Louis van Niekerk after a text message she had sent was widely distributed.
The Weekend Argus reported at the time that the message read: “I am [appalled at] this so-called justice system, the whole case was an attempt by the State to create a crime which never happened so they can lock up a ‘high-profile white man’ to try [to] show the country that they [are] doing their job. As far as I am concerned, the State and the judge are the same team and if the State acted unlawfully in illegally searching properties and bribing State witnesses, what else did they fabricate in order to get their Xmas bonus? A corrupt country starts with corrupt police, and I do hope the truth [will] be revealed and actual justice served.”
She later retracted her comments in a letter delivered to the judge and prosecutor.
In it, she said she was under “intense media and public scrutiny” and labelled her behaviour as “unacceptable”.
Prior to this, Alterskye had commented on a Facebook post by the SA Police Service in which it praised the work of detective sergeants Marlon Appollis and Stephen Adams following Rohde’s sentencing.
She commented: “These two ‘officers’ did nothing but lie, and acted unlawfully, raiding my home and intimidating my child without a legal search warrant. After months of broken promises I received my ‘illegally’ confiscated goods through whiskey pay-offs, as that is the only language they understand. These are not people we should respect nor promote so hopefully they do not get a higher rank. I do hope these detectives are not the norm and that there are good cops out there.”
She later deleted the comment.
Rohde’s former colleague, Brendan Miller, testified during his trial that Appollis had asked for a drink after arriving at his home to take a statement one morning during their investigation.
According to the State, Appollis said he had seen the whisky and asked if he could have a sip, News24 previously reported.
Van Niekerk said Appollis recalled that he had the whisky after taking the statement when they were standing and smoking on Miller’s balcony around midday.
In August, Salie-Hlophe refused Rohde’s bail application when he approached the Western Cape’s highest court for bail to deal with a “hostile take-over” of his company and to prevent his daughters from running out of available funds by December.
He appealed her judgment, with the appellate court ruling in his favour on Wednesday.
– Compiled by Tammy Petersen