Port Elizabeth – An ex-employee of murder-accused Christopher Panayiotou, who claimed he found R30 000 allegedly meant for a hit on his wife Jayde, will continue being cross-examined in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
On Thursday, the court heard that Mawonga Ndedwa waited nearly a year to hand police his cellphone, which Panayiotou allegedly used to arrange the murder.
Ndedwa said he read in a newspaper article about Jayde’s death that police were trying to track the owner of an as-yet unidentified cellphone number, which he realised was his.
Terry Price, for Panayiotou, asked him why he had waited so long, until February this year, to hand over the phone. Ndedwa said he was still working for the Panayiotou’s OK Grocer store at the time and did not want to be disloyal to the family.
Ndedwa worked as a merchandiser at the shop, and at Panayiotou’s Infinity nightclub, both in Algoa Park, Port Elizabeth.
He was put through a disciplinary hearing and fired after being accused of stealing at least 11 bottles of whisky.
He testified that Panayiotou gave him R1 000 to get rid of the phone, and took out Ndedwa’s SIM card and destroyed it in front of him.
Ndedwa had laughed while signing his disciplinary and sacking papers, and demanded R150 000 to keep quiet about the phone, Price put to him.
Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe, and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing Jayde, 29, on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. They pleaded not guilty.
Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, believed to be the hitman hired by State witness Luthando Siyoni, died in a Port Elizabeth hospital in September. Siyoni worked as a bouncer at Panayiotou’s Infinity Cocktail Bar. He has become a State witness.
The court heard Ndedwa was shocked after finding R30 000 in a bag in a storeroom at the OK Grocer.
Panayiotou told him it was meant for Siyoni, he testified. The next time he went to the storeroom, the bag was gone.
Price told Ndedwa that if he could get disciplined for stealing a bottle of whisky at work, a bag of money would have stood no chance against him.