Cop who arrested Panayiotou ‘middleman’ denies he was assaulted

Lieutenant-Colonel Willie Mayi arrested Luthando Siyoni Picture: Kathyrn Kimberley
Lieutenant-Colonel Willie Mayi arrested Luthando Siyoni
Picture: Kathyrn Kimberley

The policeman who arrested state witness Luthando Siyoni, denied he was ever assaulted, claiming the bouncer sustained a “minor scratch” on his eye when he resisted arrest and hit himself in the face with the handcuffs.

Lieutenant-Colonel Willie Mayi said he took Siyoni and his girlfriend Babalwa Breakfast in for questioning on April 27 last year, after he received information from an informant about Uitenhage teacher Jayde Panayiotou’s murder.

Mayi told the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday morning that the couple accompanied him willingly to the Uitenhage police station, where they were questioned about the April 21 kidnapping and murder.

Mayi first questioned Breakfast, who immediately related everything she knew about the alleged hit on Jayde.

It is alleged Siyoni hired a hitman to kidnap and kill Jayde at the behest of her husband, Christopher Panayiotou.

Mayi told state advocate Marius Stander that he read Breakfast’s statement back to her, and then gave it to her to read once more. When she was satisfied with the contents, she signed it.

Mayi then proceeded to question Siyoni, who was seated in a separate room at the Uitenhage police station.

“I told him I had information at my disposal and asked him to comment. I said my information had been substantiated by his girlfriend,” Mayi said.

“I told him I was now placing him under arrest and as such he was not compelled to answer my questions. I also explained that he had a right to an attorney.

“He then told me he had a role in the killing of Jayde Panayiotou.”

Mayi said it was only when he tried to cuff Siyoni, that the stocky bouncer became upset and tried to resist. At some point he hit himself in the face.

Later, Siyoni told him about the R30 000, allegedly meant for the payment of the hitmen, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke and Sinethemba Nemembe.

Proceedings got off to a late start in the morning, with Nemembe first being called to appear in a different court for another murder charge.

There he stands accused alongside Vumazonke’s cousin, Thanduxolo Vumazonke, of killing an elderly woman while robbing her Kunene Park home on August 20 last year.

Marlene Webber, 78, was suffocated to death. Trial for that case was postponed to May.

Mayi returns to the stand on Monday afternoon for cross-examination.




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