Damning call to Panayiotou’s mom a damp squib

Mawonga Ndedwa is a former employee of Christopher Panayiotou Picture: Kathryn Kimberley
Mawonga Ndedwa is a former employee of Christopher Panayiotou
Picture: Kathryn Kimberley

A key state witness listened to a telephone conversation yesterday in which he promised to give Christopher Panayiotou’s mom a phone the murder accused allegedly asked him to destroy.

On Thursday, the defence made much ado about the call, claiming former employee Mawonga Ndedwa had been hoping to extort money from Fanoula Panayiotou in exchange for the piece of evidence.

But after reading the transcript of the call yesterday, state advocate Marius Stander seemed unfazed.

In the call, no reference is made to money and little detail is given about the said phone.

Ndedwa tells Fanoula that he is not fighting with her and says he will “bring” the phone to her.

Ndedwa had earlier told the Port Elizabeth High Court how in the two weeks prior to Jayde’s murder, Panayiotou, 30, had used his phone to make several calls to self-confessed middleman Luthando Siyoni.

A total of 27 calls were made between the two.

Ndedwa said he and Siyoni were not friends and he did not even have his number saved on his phone.

Christopher Panayiotou's mother, Fanoula (centre), took over his business after his arrest Picture: Eugene Coetzee
Christopher Panayiotou’s mother, Fanoula (centre), took over his business after his arrest
Picture: Eugene Coetzee

He said Panayiotou had even kept the phone overnight.

Then, just days after Jayde’s disappearance, Panayiotou allegedly gave Ndedwa R1 000 and asked him to destroy the phone.

While Panayiotou broke the SIM card in half in his presence, Ndedwa said he held onto the handset until February this year, after he saw a newspaper report about the murder.

Ndedwa also told the court that shortly before Jayde’s murder, Panayiotou had asked him to give Siyoni R30 000 in cash.

The state alleges Panayiotou paid Siyoni to organise the hit on Jayde.

While Siyoni has since turned state witness, Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nemembe and Zolani Sibeko pleaded not guilty to the murder.

Yesterday, advocate Terry Price SC, accused Ndedwa of downplaying his relationship with Siyoni.

Price further asked him where he had been between 6am and 8am on the morning of April 21 last year – the time of Jayde’s kidnapping and murder.

Ndedwa wanted to know if he was in the witness box because of his personal affairs or because of the phone and money.

Price retorted: “You are here to give your version and I am here to test that version.”

The court adjourned momentarily for Ndedwa to listen to the phone conversation.

Price said Ndedwa – who was fired for theft – had phoned Fanoula and promised to return the phone hoping to make a quick buck.

The trial continues on Monday, when Ndedwa will return to the stand.

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