Port Elizabeth – The alleged hitman in the Jayde Panayiotou murder, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, 30, will be lodging a claim against police for assaulting him during his arrest.
This is according to his attorney, Anne Swanepoel, who said the letter to inform the police minister had already been drafted and would be sent in due course.
“We will also be opening a case against the police at the Kabega Park Police Station within the next week or two,” she said.
Vumazonke told Magistrate Jan van der Westhuizen during his first court appearance that he had been beaten by police during his arrest.
Van der Westhuizen had asked Vumazonke where he had sustained his injuries after appearing in court with his one eye swollen shut.
“The extent of his injuries were a lot worse than what was just visible in court,” said Swanepoel, who said both her client’s eyes had been swollen shut and his jaw nearly dislocated.
Swanepoel would not disclose the amount of damages that would be sought, except to say that it was “substantial”.
At the time, Eastern Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Marinda Mills said Vumazonke sustained his injuries while police were extracting him from a car outside a tavern.
“The correct procedures were followed following his injury. His injuries were reported and he was offered medical assistance.
“It was an unfortunate incident that occurred during his extraction from the vehicle,” she said
Asked if Vumazonke would be applying for bail, Swanepoel said that her client would first have to serve out the remaining sentence for a previous case, but that once his sentence was finished he would be applying for bail.
“His current sentence runs until the 16th of January next year, so as soon as that comes to an end we will aply for bail in this case,” she said.
Vumazonke had been convicted in July 2011 of theft and possession of a stolen firearm, for which he had been sentenced to five years in prison. He was released on parole in October 2013 after serving two-and-a-half years of his sentence in St Albans Prison.
He was then arrested in December last year for his involvement in a robbery at Dales Liquor in the Mount Pleasant suburb of Port Elizabeth, while still on parole, but was released on bail four months ago.
Correctional Services confirmed that he should not have been granted bail, and his parole should have been revoked, but attributed the lapse to Vumazonke giving them a different name to avoid them detecting that he was on parole.
It was while he was out on bail that Vumazonke is alleged to have been hired by Christopher Panayiotou, through middleman Thando Siyoli, to kill Jade. Vumazonke is believed to have abducted Jayde, 29, from outside her home on April 21.
She was found murdered her in a deserted veld, shot twice in the back and once, at close range, in the head.
Panayiotou’s defence attorney, Terry Price, described Vumazonke as looking like he had gone 15 rounds with Floyd Mayweather during Panayiotou’s bail application. Bail was denied on Friday last week.
Vumazonke is expected to appear in court with Panayiotou and Siyoli on June 19.
Derrick Spies, News24 Correspondent
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