Fears that Sizwezakhe Vumazonke had been poisoned emerged yesterday as the suspected hitman slipped into a coma.

Prosecutor Marius Stander said he was waiting for a toxicology report.


Vumazonke, 30, who was allegedly hired by Jayde Panayiotou’s husband, Christopher, 29, to kidnap and murder her in April last year, is under police guard in the intensive care unit at Livingstone Hospital, Port Elizabeth.

A source close to the investigation said it was feared that Vumazonke had been poisoned.

The alleged triggerman was admitted to hospital from St Albans Prison on August 25 after he said he was so ill he could barely stand.

Yesterday’s proceedings ahead of the murder trial were postponed for the second time in the Port Elizabeth High Court because of Vumazonke’s condition.

VumazonkeThe state alleges that Vumazonke, Sinethemba Nemembe, 28, and Zolani Roxo, 35, were hired by Panayiotou on April 21 last year.

Defence attorney Michelle Blignaut said yesterday that Vumazonke’s legal team and family were struggling to get answers.

“My client’s two sisters have now instructed me to write to the hospital superintendent because no one is willing to tell us anything,” Blignaut said.

“They are very worried.”

Blignaut said CT scans had been made in addition to blood tests and they were waiting for the toxicology report.

Blignaut said Vumazonke complained that he felt he was developing flu when she consulted him at the prison early last month.

“Then .a few days later his sister phoned me to tell me that his condition had deteriorated.

“I was shocked when I saw him in court [on August 25],” Blignaut said.

A frail looking Vumazonke told Judge Glenn Goosen that he was too ill to sit through proceedings.

The case was postponed to yesterday to allow him to recover.

However a few days ago Vumazonke’s speech began to deteriorate and he sank into a coma.

Stander asked that proceedings accordingly be postponed to September 15.

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