CheckPoint looks at intimate killings and undercover violence


File: A woman who was raped rests her hands on her bedsheets at a hospital in Goma. Women and girls in eastern Congo's North Kivu province are once again suffering increasing levels of sexual violence amid renewed conflict.

JOHANNESBURG – The murder of Jayde Panayiotou and the subsequent arrest of her husband, Chris Panayiotou, has put intimate partner killings in the forefront of South Africa’s crime narrative.

This week, CheckPoint examines why contract killings are so easy to organise.

Anni Hesselink, professor of criminology at the University of South Africa, highlights the motivation of those who hire contract killers – particularly spouses.

“When one is desperate and emotional, then you don’t think clear,” Hesselink said.

“And often coupled with emotional intelligence, they (partners) do not outweigh the risks versus the benefits.”

The killing of Jayde brings to mind many of South Africa’s most famous contract killings: Chanelle Henning, Patricio Mucova, Avhatakali Netshisaulu, Taliep Petersen, and, of course, Anni Dewani, which the state was unable to prove.

Sometimes contract killings involve a wealthy spouse taking advantage of a person with a gun who’s desperate for cash. In other cases, professional hitmen are hired, as happens frequently in the taxi industry.

“And the reasons for that are associated with competition over (taxi) routes, over passengers,” Hesselink said.

“There, hitmen are used for rivalry taxi associations – it cannot be linked or even be associated with intimate partner killings.”

Tune in to CheckPoint on Tuesday at 9.30pm on DStv 403 and 10.30pm on to learn why hitmen are so easy to hire.

Also in this week&39;s episode, producer Megan Lubke introduces us to two women whose powerful personal stories go some way in explaining why abused women stay with their partners until it’s too late.