Thousands march demanding justice for slain teacher

Port Elizabeth - Over four thousand people descended on the Kabega Park police station on Wednesday evening demanding “Justice for Jayde” and the reinstatement of the death penalty.

The impromptu gathering was organised on Wednesday afternoon over social media, with news of the get together spreading like wildfire after Jayde Panayiotou’s body was found in an isolated area near KwaNobuhle Township in Uitenhage on Wednesday morning.

The much loved teacher of Riebeek College Girl’s High School was allegedly abducted outside her home at Stellen Glen residential complex in Deacon Road, Kabega, on Tuesday.

Her disappearance sparked an intensive search for her, with members of the public joining police as a metro wide search ensued.

Head of the Nelson Mandela Bay Ratepayers Association, Kobus Gerber, led the march down Cape Road, with the crowds of people chanting “Enough is Enough”, “Ons is Gatvol” and “Bring back the death penalty”.

Traffic was brought to a standstill as the crowds filled all three lanes of the street. Parents and children, some already wearing their pyjamas, marched alongside elderly couples with walking sticks and individuals with their dogs.

Many carried candles and some had posters with pictures of Panayiotou printed on them. A number of local tow truck vehicles and other emergency services followed the crowd, with their emergency lights flashing.

When the crowd arrived opposite the police station, a moment of silence was held before a lone bagpipe started playing Amazing Grace.

As the bagpipes played, the crowd marched across the street to gather in front of the police station, chanting “Justice for Jayde”.

A former learner of Panayiotou, who did not give her name, stood up and told those gathered that Panayiotou was more than just a teacher to them.

“She was one of those teachers, when she reached for your hand, she touched your heart. She was an amazing person, always so sweet and so kind,” she said.

The crowd then started chanting again, demanding that the death penalty be brought back, and that those responsible for Panayiotou’s death be brought to justice.

There was also a moment of silence in recognition of Addo farmer, Allan Clarke, who was murdered during the early morning hours on Monday, and whose body had then been dumped on the outskirts of Greenbushes.

A short prayer was then held, before the crowd all joined in and sang Amazing Grace, before quietly dispersing.

Gerber said it was great to see the number of people come out to show their solidarity.

“It’s very simple, this country has fallen into crime and corruption and we have had enough. The people, the community, everyone has now had enough!”

Candlelight vigils were also held for Panayiotou this evening in Uitenhage and Algoa Park.

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