A surprise state witness has detailed how he was asked to assist alleged co-conspirator Zolani Sibeko to find a firearm to shoot Jayde Panayiotou last year.
This emerged in the Port Elizabeth High Court yesterday, as Sibeko, 35, applied for bail.
While Khusta Vandala, 33, from Kwazakhele, said he could not find a gun and pulled out before Jayde’s kidnapping and murder on April 21, his affidavit detailed the planning of the hit.
Sibeko claimed there was not a shred of evidence against him, accusing the state of adapting its evidence as flaws in the case were exposed.
The prosecution hit back with details of his dodgy past and how he allegedly tried to hide from police when he was arrested at his parents’ home.
Investigating officer Captain Kanna Swanepoel said Sibeko had even tried to hide his cellphone, but when he [Swanepoel] dialled it from inside the house, the screen lit up in Sibeko’s grandmother’s pajamas.
But it was Vandala’s affidavit, in which he claimed Sibeko had asked for his assistance to find a gun for alleged hitman Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, that became the main point of contention between the defence and the state yesterday.
The family of Jayde’s husband, Christopher, who allegedly orchestrated her murder, sat in the court with their legal team.
Prosecutor Marius Stander said he would rely on Vandala’s testimony, in conjunction with Sibeko’s cellphone billing and the tracking report of the alleged hit vehicle, to prove the charges against Sibeko.
He said while the strength of his case was being criticised, Sibeko was yet to put forward a version.
Vandala said in his affidavit that in April last year “my friend Zolani told me Sizwe has a job for us”.
When he met Vumazonke and a man with him called Zinzi, Vumazonke told him the job pertained to a hit.
“The only arrangement made that day was that Zolani and I would arrange the firearm, and Sizwe and Zinzi would arrange the vehicle. We exchanged numbers,” Vandala said.
Judge Irma Schoeman will give judgment on the bail application on Monday.
The trial continues in April.