Latest accused in Panayiotou murder case appears in court

2016-07-27 14:00

Port Elizabeth - The latest man accused of being involved in the murder of Jayde Panayiotou in April last year, made a brief appearance in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

Zolani Sibeko, 35, who also uses the alias "Zolani Roxo", appeared briefly before Magistrate Este Petzer.

Before proceedings got underway, Sibeko turned around in the dock and pointed out The Herald court reporter, Kathryn Kimberly, to two acquaintances of his who were in the gallery.

Sibeko and Kimberley had a run-in just before his brief court appearance on Friday last week, after he confronted her while in the dock and told her that she made him sick.

The two men, who were also waiting to appear, were called in before Sibeko, and the three continued to chat during proceedings until a court orderly intervened. The case against the two men was provisionally withdrawn and they left the court.

The State has linked Sibeko to the conspiracy to murder Jayde after a month long investigation - which included cellphone plotting - showed that he had been with co-accused Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30, and Sinethemba Nenembe, 29, at least once while they were plotting the route she travelled to work.

Cellphone plotting also showed that Sibeko was with Vumazonke and Nenembe outside Jayde's Stellen Glen complex in Kabega Park, just five days before she was abducted, forced into the boot of a hired vehicle, taken to remote area behind Kwanobuhle, and murdered.

Jayde’s husband, Christopher Panayiotou, 29, was arrested shortly after her murder last year. He is accused of orchestrating the murder of his wife.

The State alleges that Panayiotou approached a bouncer who worked for him, Luthando Siyoni, to hire a hitman. Siyoni has since turned State witness. Vumazonke was arrested shortly afterwards, charged with being the hitman. In October last year, Nenembe was linked to the case and also arrested.

Advocate Peter Daubermann, who is also representing Nenembe, indicated that he would be representing Sibeko, on instruction from attorney Louis van Rensburg.

Daubermann indicated that he would not be applying for bail at this stage.

State prosecutor Alta Meiring, who stood in for Marius Stander, requested that the case be remanded to August 8, for the necessary documentation to be completed to transfer the matter to the Port Elizabeth High Court.

It is expected that Sibeko will appear with co-accused Panayiotou, Vumazonke and Nenembe when they appear for their pre-trial conference in the High Court on August 25.

Petzer postponed the case to the August 8, with Sibeko remaining in custody.

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