Prison head warns offenders

2014-09-16 00:00

THE head of correctional services in KwaZulu-Natal says he will end his service the day an offender escapes from the most secure prison in Africa — Ebhongweni C-Max at Kokstad.

Regional commissioner of correctional services in KZN, Mnikelwa Nxele, was speaking at a media briefing at the prison in the wake of an incident when two dangerous criminals were shot and a correctional services official was wounded last week.

The incident happened whilst the prisoners, Sakhumzi Mvoko (30) and Yandisa Bila (32), were being escorted from Kokstad to Umthatha High Court last Wednesday.

The drama started when Bila asked if he could throw away some orange peels in a dust bin. As he did so, he pulled a gun out from the bin.

At the same time Mvoko grabbed an officer’s gun and the two fired on police and correctional services officials. The officers near the exit returned fire and killed both criminals.

Correctional services security task team member Mduduzi Ngubelanga (35) was wounded in his leg.

He said yesterday he “thanks God” he is alive. He was discharged from hospital last Saturday.

Mvoko and Bila, who had previously escaped from custody several times, were re-arrested by the Hawks in 2011. While on the run they had committed a string of crimes including a post office robbery in Harding.

At the time of their arrest in Gauteng police said at least five firearms were recovered from their possession.

“I want to convey to the public that those who want to assist offenders by providing firearms that they are risking our security task team, SAPS members and the country.

“I want to warn those people … in the strongest terms that the law is long enough to hunt them down” said Nxele.

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