Death by the hand of the spouse in South Africa

JUNE 20, 2015

The arrest of Port Elizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, for the murder of his wife, Jayde, in April has been met with shock across South Africa as many could not believe that she could have been murdered by someone close to her.

But this is not the first time spouses have been convicted of killing their partners – either accidentally (as Oscar Pistorius claimed); or after carefully planning it out (the cases of Shrien Dewani; Nico Henning; Thandi Maqubela; Najwa Petersen; and Mulalo Sivhidzo).

Note that these are just a few high profile cases – and many more go without enjoying equal media coverage.

Most people will not realise that when Jayde Panayiotou was reported missing, only a few Port Elizabeth media reported on it before the bigger media houses eventually decided to make the story a national sensation that it has begun.

Rameez Patel case

While the Panayiotou story was breaking, a strikingly similar case also broke in Limpopo – and most people almost missed it.

Polokwane businessman, Rameez Patel, who is now out on bail, is believed to have murdered his wife, Fatima, at their Polokwane home in April. The method of murder – according to the State, a faked house robbery.

Like Jayde, Fatima was also only 28 years old.

The couple was believed to be happily married.

Mossel Bay murder

In less than two weeks of the Panayiotou and Patel stories, a woman from Mossel Bay was arrested after she allegedly shot her husband dead.

The 61-year-old woman from Heiderand was at home with her 49-year-old husband and 25-year-old daughter when she and the victim allegedly had an argument.

She then got her pistol and her husband dead.


Around the same time, a Butterworth woman was arrested for fatally stabbing her boyfriend.

This was after an argument had broken out between the two over a cigarette.

These are just a few cases that made headlines between now and April.

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