Details involving two unknown people in Jayde Panayiotou’s murder plot crept its way to the surface on Tuesday when Zolani Sibeko applied for bail at the Port Elizabeth High Court.
Sibeko, who was being represented by advocate Peter Daubermann, will have to show Judge Irma Schoeman that exceptional circumstances exist to warrant his release on bail.
Details of Sibeko’s alleged involvement in Jayde’s killing have been sketchy for a long time up until Tuesday when State prosecutor Marius Stander indicated that the State’s case against the accused was not solely based on circumstantial evidence – exclusive to cell phone plotting placing him outside Jayde’s complex in the days before her murder.
It is the State’s case that Luthando Siyoni, on the request of Jayde’s husband, Christopher Panayiotou, recruited Sizwe Vumazonke to kidnap and kill Jayde. Vumazonke has since died. Panayiotou’s mother Fanoula, his lawyers, and family friends were present during Tuesday’s bail hearing.
According to investigating officer Kanna Swanepoel’s affidavit placed before the bail hearing, Sibeko and a person named Khuselo Vandala were approached by Vumazonke to organise a firearm for the killing.
“It is further the State’s case that on 15th and 16th April Vumazonke took [Sibeko] and Vandala to the residence of the deceased where the complex was pointed out to [Sibeko],” Swanepoel’s affidavit reads.
Details of Sibeko’s alleged involvement in sourcing a firearm for the killing emerged for the first time on Tuesday. The procurement of an alleged murder weapon was not mentioned in the indictment before the High Court in Port Elizabeth.
According to the State, Sibeko was present outside the school teacher’s complex in the days before her murder specifically on April 15th and 16th last year.
“It was Vandala who warned the circling accused that Jayde was going to leave her residence, a call is made by Sibeko to a person traveling in the vehicle, the vehicle picks up speed after the call is made, it travels 70km/h and drives to Deacon Road, the vehicle not only returns but it speeds towards the complex,” said Stander.
Stander indicated that an affidavit from a State witness – Vandala – showed that Sibeko was involved in a conspiracy plot to have the school teacher kidnapped and murdered.
“In [his] affidavit Vandala says an arrangement was made that day for me [Vandala] and Zolani [Sibeko] to organise the firearm and Sizwe and Zinzi were to organise the vehicle that we were going to make use of,” said Stander.
Stander said that 163 calls were made between Vandala and Sibeko, 89 calls between Sibeko and Vumazonke, and a further 53 calls were made between Sibeko and person referred to as Zinzi.
Stander argued that the cell phone billings in April 2015 told a story which tied into Vandals’s affidavit in which the mystery man speaks of four roleplayers involved in Jayde’s murder plot.
“I know that cell phone billing is not the be all and end all, but what are the chances that on the morning of April 15 and April 16 [Sibeko] is at the same reception tower used at the front gate of the deceased’s complex?” Stander asked.
Vandala has not testified in the main trial involving three men accused of orchestrating Jayde’s murder.
Stander insists that the State does have a strong case against Sibeko based on witness statements from Swanepoel, Vandala, as well as cell phone plotting placing him at Jayde’s Stellen Glen complex in the days before her murder.
Daubermann however insisted that the prosecution’s case against his client, Sibeko, was non-existent and the State was instead “clutching at straws” adapting versions in a desperate attempt to keep his client behind bars.
Daubermann argued that a tracker report and cell phone evidence did not place his client in the vehicle nor at the scene, the day Jayde was abducted on April 21 last year.
He further dismissed cell phone analysis linking Sibeko’s cell phone to a reception tower near Jayde’s complex on the 15th and 16th of April as “useless”.
He raised questions around the mystery role player Vandala, who was allegedly linked to Jayde’s murder plot.
“Vandala implicates himself in a conspiracy to murder [Jayde], there’s no mention of the State offering him indemnity therefore the State has no intention of calling Vandala at the trial,” Daubermann argued.
Judgement in Sibeko’s bail application will be heard on December 12th.
– African News Agency