The department of correctional services and the SA Police Service (Saps) are positive 16 prisoners who escaped from the Johannesburg Correctional Centre will be back behind bars soon.
According to a statement by the department, the prisoners escaped the Medium A section of the prison in Naturena, which is also known as Sun City prison.
Correctional services spokesperson Mocheta Monama, said it was rare for 16 prisoners to all escape at once. He emphasised they were thoroughly investigating precisely what happened.
“This is not a normal case. It has never happened before. We are investigating why this was possible. We are hoping that our investigations will lead us to rearresting the culprits,” he said.
Monama said their investigations with Saps and their various departments gave them hope that the prisoners would be found.
“We have released the names and pictures of the prisoners. We hope that this information will help in quickly identifying them,” he said.
Preliminary investigations by Saps and the department reveal that the prisoners escaped in the early hours of the morning through a pipe shaft.
“They used an object to break the wall and then proceeded to the fence,” said a statement by the department.
Monama said the escaped prisoners were arrested on charges including murder, housebreaking and rape.
Saps and correctional services urged the public to be on the lookout for the escaped convicts, and to contact the police with any information that would lead to their rearrests.
Two of the 16 inmates, Percy Matimba Chauke, 37, and Thamsanqa Msezane, 23, who are from Kagiso in the West Rand, were awaiting trial on charges of rape. Chauke and Msezane were arrested in 2017 by the Kagiso police and were expected to appear in the High Court in Johannesburg. Chauke was expected to appear on July 30, while Msezane was due in court on May 21.
– Additional reporting by Caxton News Service