Panayiotou and co-accused expected in PE High Court

SEPTEMBER 5, 2016

Disgraced Port Elizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, and his three alleged accomplices, alleged hitman Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko, are expected again in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday for a pre-trial hearing ahead of their trial, which is expected to kick off in October.

The initial hearing on 25 August was postponed to the 5th of September after Vumazonke's legal council told the presiding Judge Glenn Goosen that Vumazonke was ill and needed to be taken to the hospital.

It is alleged that Panayiotou paid Luthando Siyoli, 31, a bouncer at his nightclub in Algoa Park, R75 000 to hire a hitman Vumazonke, 30, for the murder of his wife, Jayde.

Late in October last year, Nenembe, 28, who is related to Vumazonke, was also linked to the case, after police arrested him for the murder of 72 year old Denise Webber on 20 August 2015 in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth.

The 25th of August was the first time that Sibeko, who previously claimed that his surname was Roxo, appeared with the other accused.

He was arrested in July in Greenbushes connection with Jayde's murder and has previously appeared in the Port Elizabeth’s Magistrate’s Court where he was denied bail.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), police used cellphone plotting and placed Sibeko outside the Panayiotou's Stellen Glen complex at the time that Vumazonke and Nenembe allegedly kidnapped Jayde.

In June, Panayiotou was denied bail by the Port Elizabeth Magistrates' Court for the second time after his legal team failed to convince the court of new facts that would warrant bail.

Siyoni has since turned State witness and it has been the defence's case that he was assaulted by the police to get a confession out of him - the same confession that implicated Panayiotou.

The actual trial will begin on 3 October 2016 and is expected to last for two months or until 2 December 2016.