Following the excellent investigation conducted by Capt Swanepoel, Adv Marius Stander, senior state advocate, wrote the following evaluation report in recognition of Capt Swanepoel's service and in order for him to be considered for an award.
“On 21 April 2015, Jayde Panayiotou was kidnapped outside her residential complex in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth where she was waiting for a lift. On 22 April 2015, her body was discovered on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth where she was shot three times. Subsequent to her being killed, monies were withdrawn from her bank account. Her death sparked a nationwide frenzy. On 2 November 2017, Christopher Panayiotou, the husband of Jayde Panayiotou, and two others were convicted on a number of charges including the murder of Jayde Panayiotou. The court found that Panayiotou recruited a certain Siyoni, who in turn recruited the other two accused to kill his wife for an amount of R80 000.
On 24 November 2017, Panayiotou and Nemembe were sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of the deceased. Sibeko was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment.
The initial investigating team ruled out the possibility that Panayiotou was involved in the murder and proceeded to investigate other leads. (Capt) Swanepoel however insisted that the husband was involved. On 27 April 2015, Siyoni was arrested by members of the SA Police Service. On 28 April 2015, (Capt) Swanepoel was appointed to head up a task team to investigate the murder. On the same day he interviewed Siyoni. Siyoni indicated that Panayiotou hired him to arrange the shooters. (Capt) Swanepoel decided to create the impression that Siyoni had not been arrested by the police. (Capt) Swanepoel coopted Eksteen, a family friend of the Panayiotou family, onto the investigative team. Eksteen had to create the impression with Panayiotou that Siyoni had not been arrested. Siyoni was allowed to contact Panayiotou via telephone. All the calls were recorded by Eksteen using a digital recording device. The making of these calls were to ascertain whether Panayiotou was indeed involved in the murder of his wife. Shortly after each call between Siyoni and Panayiotou, (Capt) Swanepoel tasked Eksteen to contact Panayiotou affording Panayiotou the opportunity to disclose his communication with Siyoni as Eksteen conveyed to Panayiotou that the police were looking for Siyoni. During the course of the next two days a number of calls took place between Siyoni and Panayiotou. (Capt) Swanepoel wanted to set up a meeting where he could record the conversation between Siyoni and Panayiotou. (Capt) Swanepoel arranged a vehicle equipped with sound and video surveillance. The meeting took place in this vehicle. During the meeting Panayiotou admitted his involvement in the murder. This evidence was crucial in the conviction of Panayiotou.
The Panayiotou trial received much publicity and everything surrounding the trial was at all times in the public domain. After the SA Police (Service) bungle of the Inge Lotz murder and the Dewani murder the SA Police (Service) was always going to be in the spotlight. Panayiotou brought two bail applications and a bail appeal. In all instances bail was refused. Panayiotou also brought an application for access to the police docket. (Capt) Swanepoel opposed bail successfully and opposed all the preliminary applications successfully. This restored the public's faith in the ability of the SA Police Service. From the outset of the trial it was abundantly clear that Panayiotou had no defence and that the defence were going to discredit the police officials in order to secure an acquittal. (Capt) Swanepoel, Eksteen and Bosch were always going to be the most important witnesses that would have to testify for the State in order to prove the admissibility of the video recording. (Capt) Swanepoel even more so, as he, as investigating officer, was responsible for putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. (Capt) Swanepoel was under cross-examination for four days, but ultimately all the evidence was admitted and the accused were all convicted. The conduct of the police officials restored the public's faith not only in the police, but also in the entire justice system.
Subsequent to the arrest of Siyoni, another accused, Vumazonke, was arrested. Vumazonke however passed away before commencement of the trial. Vumazonke hired the vehicle that was used to abduct the deceased. (Capt) Swanepoel had the cellular phones of Siyoni, Panayiotou and Vumazonke downloaded. He further obtained the call data of all the cellular numbers used by the various role-players. Once he had obtained all the data he analysed the data and identified a number of frequently phoned numbers. (Capt) Swanepoel also obtained the call data on about 17 of these frequently dialled numbers and identified two numbers that were on the scene of the kidnapping of the deceased. Bosch then started tracing the owners of these two numbers as the numbers were not RICA-ed. He ascertained that the one number was given up by a student at the local university. He traced this individual and it turned out to be the shooter, Nemembe. The other number he traced to Sibeko that was ultimately convicted on conspiracy to commit murder. The narrowing down of the call data and ultimate identification and arrest of the accused indicate (Capt) Swanepoel, Eksteen and Bosch's ability and knowledge in the practical use of the latest innovative investigative and prosecutorial techniques. The conviction of Nemembe and Sibeko was based solely on this evidence. The judgment in this regard is a ground-breaking one and reported as such.
As stated above, the media coverage of this trial and the conduct of the police officials restored the public's faith not only in the police, but in the entire justice system. This investigating team was tasked to solve this murder in order to send a message out to similar minded would-be killers that crime does not pay. After the body of the deceased was found there were many calls by the public to take the law into their own hands. (Capt) Swanepoel spent many hours with the family and friends of the deceased in order to convince them to have faith in the justice system and to allow the police and the prosecuting team to do their job. During the preliminary court proceedings and during the trial, the team at all times kept the family and other stakeholders informed of the status of proceedings and in general just keeping them calm. The outcome of this trial was probably the greatest service delivery to the community at large.
The prosecutor in the matter decided not to use a junior advocate during the trial. The case docket was massive, consisting of more than eight lever arch files plus a further 70 000 pages of exhibits that were all in digital format. (Capt) Swanepoel fulfilled the role as the junior prosecutor in the matter assisting with consultations and the behind-the-scenes preparation of the case. (Capt) Swanepoel was, because of his intimate knowledge of the case, used as a soundboard in the discussion of court strategy. It needs to be remembered that the prosecutor was alone against the high profile legal teams of the accused. Any new developments during the trial had to be followed up by the investigative team. The trial spanned 66 court days. All consultations and preparation for court proceedings were done over weekends and after hours not to delay court proceedings.”
Adv Marius Stander
Senior State Advocate
(After reading the Crime Series, as published in the April and May 2018 issues of Servamus, one has to agree with Adv Stander on why Capt Kanna Swanepoel is worthy of recognition and an award from the SAPS. As noted in the Pollex in January 2018: “What Pollex finds noteworthy (Afrikaans: 'navolgenswaardig') is the remark made by the court in paragraph  of its judgment, namely -
‘ Before I conclude this judgment it behoves me to commend the investigation team for their meticulous [Afrikaans: ‘besondere nougesette’] efforts in unmasking Jayde’s murderers. The criticism directed at them and the prosecutor is unfounded’.”
Refer to the second part of the Panayiotou murder published from pp 34-43 in Servamus: May 2018. Ed.)