Murder accused Christopher Panayiotou (CP) and Thando Siyoli (TS) met on April 29 at an unknown location. Siyoli, believed to have been a bouncer at Panayiotou’s Infinity Bar, has turned state witness.
The edited conversation that follows comes from a sting operation set up by the police to trap Panayiotou:
TS: Things aren’t right now.
TS: — Babalwa called me and said the police was there at my house. Everything is changing now.
CP: But why are the police after you?
TS: I don’t know. I think here is an informer somewhere, somehow.
CP: Did these guys blit [talk]?
TS: Which ones?
CP: Your friend?
CP: Did they tell anything?
TS: No, even them they are on the run.
TS: I told them they must not be here.
CP: Where they going to?
TS: They didn’t tell me. I changed my simcard.
CP: Yes, but you need to change it again now.
TS: After this we … I’m going to call you.
TS: I’m going to call you on my new number.
CP: No, you are not. You just missed-call me. Don’t phone me or SMS me.
TS: What’s going on boss?
CP: I don’t know bru.
TS: Hey, this thing I didn’t see it was going to be like this.
TS: What is this?
CP: Plus minus five [the transcript makes reference to R5000]. Where are you going to now?
TS: I’m going back to Jeffreys Bay. I’m worried about my family. Boss, this thing, I didn’t know it was going to be like this. I thought it was going to be easy.
CP: Yes, but why did they say to you when they fetched you the other day.
TS: They fetched me and then they asked me questions.
CP: And … What did they ask you?
TS: F***ing questions.
TS: Nothing serious, boss.
CP: Tell me, did they ask you if you were involved?
TS: Yes, sort of something like that.
CP: So what did you say?
TS: Those are the stupid ones.
CP: So where did they take you?
TS: They took me, me the police station and there they took my statement, but in my mind … You mos told me we will be investigated.
TS: So I was ready for that, but I was not ready.
CP: So why are you running away?
TS: They keep coming to my house.
CP: Did you take your phone anywhere?
CP: No, your other phone.
TS: I destroyed it.
CP: Did you?
TS: I told them to destroy it and then I destroyed it.
CP: Yeah, and the sim-card and everything. Did you throw it away?
TS: Yes. I’m not using the old number. I’m using this number.
CP: OK. So they didn’t ask anything about me?
CP: Or if I’m involved with anything?
TS: No. Ja … but haven’t they asked you?
CP: Yes, they have asked me, but now, but now you’ve been phoning me all day and they have been tracing my phone.
TS: The thing is, who could I call? I had no one to call.
CP: I know, but now you have to destroy that phone. I have to tell them that you phoned me otherwise they are going to think that I am involved.
CP: So you need to destroy that phone now. The phone and the sim-card my boy, both.
The transcript states that Panayiotou turns to Siyoli who is seated behind him in the vehicle and searches him for a wire.
TS: I don’t trust you now.
CP: I’m just checking.
TS: Even me I’m not trusting you now, just the thing of the police that are coming to my house.
CP: I swear on my life I didn’t say anything, but they are obviously seeing who I have been phoning. They are tapping my phone and my every number I phone, they are investigating my family too. Somebody said something.
TS: Ja, because it’s like murder thing now it’s not like a robbery or something.
CP: But that’s what I said to you. It became kidnapping and a murder instead of just making it a robbery outside the house.
TS: I think about my family now. I think about Siyanda. I think about the two little girls. I think about my gym.
CP: They went to search you house says Siyanda.
TS: Siyanda says so? You see.
CP: But there’s nothing there about it so stop stressing.
TS: You know why I’m actually stressing. I’m not safe anymore, because I have to run away even from Sizwe because I told you mos what Sizwe said. That money was too little because now they running away too.
CP: Yes, but it is because of them, Thando. They made it the way they did. They made it so big, but they have run away hey? How many of them?
TS: I don’t know. I only know Sizwe.
CP: Is it black guys or coloured guys.
TS: Sizwe is a black guy.
CP: And the others?
TS: I don’t know if hmm … the others, but I know Sizwe. I was communicating with Sizwe.
TS: But I don’t know if Sizwe was walking alone.
CP: OK. Listen to me. I am going to report that you phoned me now.
TS: And then you going to call me?
CP: No, but you are going to destroy the phone.
TS: So you are going to give them my number?
CP: Hmm, yes, I have to tell them. They investigating me. If I lie to them they going to take me in. So I’m telling you. In half an hour I am going to phone the investigating officer. He was at my house now now, that’s why I can’t talk to you all the time, and my uncle is all around me. So I’m going to tell them … that you came to see me wanting to borrow money because people took you for questioning for steroids. You need to go and hide in Jeffreys for a while and keep quiet.
TS: And what about the rent for the gym?
CP: Yes, but I can’t do anything because I’m under investigation so I can’t just give over money all the time, so don’t worry me and Siyanda will talk.
CP: OK. Are you going to hide out that side in Jeffreys.
TS: Yeah I’m going to stay a while there or maybe some.
CP: OK so I’m going to say, you must destroy your phone now and the sim-card, and I’m going to say you said you going to East London.
CP: Yeah, I am going to be OK as long as they never know about us, Thando. I never ever, I only ever helped you with the gym, I never did anything with you. I’ll sort out your family, you hide low OK. You need to be gone for a few months till this thing calms down.
TS: If I need you, I will missed-call you?
CP: No! Not on this number.
TS: On what number?
CP: You going to missed-call me once and then you are going to wait until I get another phone and sim-card.
CP: Ok. All right. Ok. There is about five there you sort yourself out.
CP: OK, because I am all out now. This thing has cost me a lot of money. The family is also looking at me.
CP: Yes. OK.
TS: This thing is not right now.
CP: No, these boys made it big. I told you to let them do it outside the house and take the bags and the rings and then they didn’t take the watch or anything.
TS: They just left.
CP: They just left everything there, you see, so it looks like a hit now. So they are after me, and that’s why I can’t just meet you in front of people like this Thando.
CP: OK. Don’t phone me and don’t sms, they are watching the SMSes because you said.
TS: Ja, but I SMS you and you don’t reply, me at the other side I’m hiding and then.
CP: No, but you need to give me time. So from now you just give me one missed-call on this number first time and never again. Don’t ever phone me or sms me to this number because they are listening to us.
TS: Even now?
CP: Well yes, but I put it off. When you are talking on the phone, they are listening that’s why I have to report this now. OK. All right. I am going to say you are going to East London. OK. OK cheers.
TS: So I need to missed-call you.
CP: Yes, but then you wait for me to phone you back.