Suspensions for freeing 'birthday rapist'
Johannesburg - Three officials at the Johannesburg central prison have been suspended following the negligent release of a prisoner facing 128 charges, including rape, correctional services said on Tuesday.
Mlungisi Mtshali, 28, who was a remand detainee facing charges relating to robbery and kidnapping, was released last month on the day he was to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court.
He was re-arrested last weekend in Pietermaritzburg.
The suspension of the officials came as the department was investigating Mtshali's release, spokesperson Phumlani Ximiya said in a statement.
"The investigation, which seeks to determine whether [the] correctional officers followed standard operating procedures in the manner in which they carried out their duties, resulting in the release of Mr Mtshali, could also lead to other correctional officers being placed on precautionary suspension," he said.
Correctional services national commissioner Tom Moyane said: "Should the investigation prove negligent conduct or even criminal complicity in the release from custody of Mlungisi Mtshali, who faces very serious charges including the violent rape of women, the law must be allowed to take its course against officials who bring the department of correctional services' name into disrepute."
Mtshali, also known as the "birthday rapist", claimed to his alleged victims, mostly students, that it was his birthday and that he wanted them to join him in a celebration.
He would thereafter lure them to the place where he allegedly raped them, by claiming he needed to go and fetch his sister or a friend.