Cop involved in the arrest of convicted wife killer Panayiotou found dead with a gunshot wound to the head

A police captain involved in several high-profile cases in Port Elizabeth has been found dead with a gunshot wound to the head. (iStock)
A police captain involved in several high-profile cases in Port Elizabeth has been found dead with a gunshot wound to the head. (iStock)

Police in Port Elizabeth are investigating a case of murder after a police surveillance specialist officer was found dead in a field near Addo Road.

Captain Mzikayise Kelemane's lifeless body was discovered by a resident in his bakkie, with a bullet wound to his head, police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said.

Kelemane was attached to Crime Intelligence in the city.

According to DispatchLive, Kelemane played a key role in several high-profile sting operations which led to the arrest of, amongst others, wife killer Christopher Panayiotou and alleged gang kingpin Wendell Petersen.

Panayiotou orchestrated the murder of his wife Jayde Panayiotou in 2015, hiring Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko to kill her.

Jayde's body was found in an open field near Uitenhage on April 22, 2015. She was shot three times.

The captain had served in the police for 19 years.

Muridili said his wife had reported him missing a day before his body was discovered.

"A case of murder has been registered and it is being investigated by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation to determine the circumstances that led to the Captain's death and to trace the perpetrators," she said.

The publication also reported that Kelemane was involved in fitting cameras and microphones to a state vehicle that recorded conversation between Panayiotou and alleged middleman Luthando Siyoni.

Panayiotou was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. Since his sentencing, Panayiotou has desperately tried to appeal his sentence, but had no luck after being denied leave to appeal by the Port Elizabeth High Court, News24 previously reported.

Two other police officers were also killed in separate incidents in the province. 

On October 12, Constable Thobani Sitolo, 34, who was attached to the Mthatha Public Order Police, was shot and killed by unknown suspects who were trying to steal a vehicle belonging to his friend.

On October 1, Sergeant Pathiswa Mhlola of  the Libode police station was shot. She succumbed to her upper body injuries in hospital on October 14, Muridili said.  

Acting national police commissioner, Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya sent her condolences to the families of the officers.

"I am saddened by the attacks on our police officers, both on or off duty, that continue unabated. The safety of our members is a priority, therefore the management of the SAPS is ensuring that there is full implementation of our police safety strategy to reduce these killings," Mgwenya said.

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