You are telling an awful amount of lies: Price tells cop who arrested Vumazonke

BY JESICA SLABBERT - OCTOBER 18, 2016

Day five of the murder trial against Port Elizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, and his alleged accomplices, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko, who are accused of kidnapping and murdering the businessman’s wife, Jayde, resumed in the Port Elizabeth High on Tuesday.

The proceedings started with the State Prosecutor, Marius Stander, requesting that Jayde’s best friend and colleague, Cherise Swanepoel, be re-examined.

Advocate Terry Price, defence attorney for Panayiotou objected, as did the two co-accused defence.

The Sate’s reason for this was for Swanepoel to testify about what she knew about Panayiotou and Jayde's marriage.

Judge Dayalin Chetty overruled the objection and allowed the State to bring in Swanepoel.

The state asked Swanepoel about Jayde’s frustrations with her marriage and any unhappiness she may have experienced because of it.

“She had voiced to me on an almost daily basis that she was lonely and felt Chris didn't make time for her. She was talking about physical loneliness. She was talking about time spent together,” said Swanepoel.

The state then questioned if Swanepoel was aware of any changes made about her frustrations.

"On our way home, she would phone Chris to ask if they could have dinner together that night, Chris was always working.  I know he did come home some nights, they would eat together, and then he would go back to work.

"Jayde would try to stay up and not be in her PJs. She said he always saw her in her pyjamas. The loneliness was almost an everyday thing," described Swanepoel.

In his cross-examination, Price stated that although Swanepoel mentioned that Jayde was not 100% happy, she was not 100% unhappy either.

Price then said that Swanepoel could not say whether Panayiotou was aware of Jayde’s unhappiness.

“I can confidently say he was aware. He knew that she was lonely. One time he called me about her birthday gift and I told him just to spend time with her. Jayde burst into tears when I told her this,” she said.

The next witness to be called to the stand was Constable Thapelo Mabija from the Provincial tracing team. Mabija was responsible for arresting alleged triggerman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, on 3 May 2015.

He said that they had received information on Vumazonke’s whereabouts from the Organised Crime Unit in Port Elizabeth.

“A source gave information to the organised crime unit to seeing Vumazonke. We rushed to KwaNobuhle. We were provided with pictures of him and registration number of car he travelled in, he said.

“We were unable to affect an arrest on him as there were many people, who were drinking. Were also told he is a dangerous person. In order to prevent gunfire to be exchanged, we surveyed him.

“We followed him to a tavern. A friend of his, who was driving, parked the car. Vumazonke then moved to driver seat. At that stage, we introduced ourselves as police, since we were in civvies. Vumazonke then attempted to open door to try to run. He couldn't escape.”

Mabija said that there was a group of officers, who are part of the police's tracking team, who were at the scene.

“He tried to run and resist arrest, but we grabbed him and cuffed him. We explained his rights... He was taken to Kabega Park SAPS,” he described.

“The car Vumazonke was in was taken to saps. It was searched and I discovered 3 phones in the car, the car was handed over to organized crime unit. I booked in the three phones I found in his car: a blackberry, Samsung, IPad.”

Mabija said that while they didn't deal with Vumazonke further “as our duty was to track him”, he wrote the arresting statement.

“Vumazonke bumped his eye against the base of a door as he was resisting arrest. He hit his head against door. I was compelled to write a statement that same evening as SAPS wouldn't have been able to detain him without It,” he added.

Price then began his cross-examination, stating that Majiba’s statements didn’t match up. He wanted to know why Vumazonke was taken to the Kabega Park police station when he was in fact taken to the Uitenhage police station.

Majiba maintained that Vumazonke was taken to Kabega Park first and was then taken to Uitenhage police station. He said that Vumazonke was not placed in the cells at Kabega Park; he was interviewed there.

“At 2am, you wrote a statement, and you say Sizwe was given a copy of his rights at Uitenhage SAPS. I'm going to show this court you are telling an awful amount of lies," said Price.

He went on to accuse Mabija of lying, saying that Vumazonke was only locked up more than 4 hours after he was taken to the SAPS; at 6am.

"You were part of the team that beat him up,” Price maintained, which Majiba denied.

Price then told the court that he would prove that Majiba was part of the team that had allegedly beaten up Vumazonke to pry a confession from him.

He then refered to the eye injury Vumazonke sustained during his arrest, and then showed an image of the deceased alleged hitman with his eye swollen shut in court. Price asked if Vumazonke’s injury was this bad and Majiba said that it was not.

“When we handed him over his eye was not in this condition,” said Majiba.

“He bumped head in region of forehead and face. We pulled him back as he tried to escape from car.”

Price then asked where Majiba’s pocketbook was and that he presents it to the court, but Majiba state that it had been misplaced.

“I want the court to try to get pocket book. I don't believe pocket book went missing. If a pocket book goes missing they are supposed to make an affidavit. It happens all too often,” he said.

Majiba also stated that he would do what he can to retrieve the pocketbook as well.

Trial continues.