SA man freed from US jail re-arrested

2012-03-20 08:07

Johannesburg - A South African man released in January after 15 years in a US prison was re-arrested last week on immigration charges, The Star reported on Tuesday.

"He was thrown back into prison because his visa had expired in 1997," said Patricia Gerber, director of Locked UP, a human rights organisation for prisoners overseas.

Azikiwe "Azi" Kambule was pardoned in the US after spending 15 years in jail for hijacking and being an accessory to murder.

He was released in the US state of Mississippi, but was re-arrested and jailed in Louisiana last week.

"I'm in contact with his mother and father, who were expecting him to be released and flown back last week," Gerber was quoted saying.

"It looks like someone is trying to stop his return to SA. Common sense would tell you he doesn't have a visa if he was in prison for that length of time."

In 1986 Kambule, then 18, was tried as an adult and received a 35-year-jail sentence. He is now 33.

The Soweto man was one of 200 inmates pardoned by former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour before leaving office in January this year.

  • Burtfred - 2012-03-20 08:12

    Please keep him in the USA. We don't want him back in South Africa - we have enough criminals already.

      Bongane Mthunzi Makwakwa - 2012-03-20 10:01

      Lol... Burtfred, we over complimented... But I would think his rehabilitated..

      Burtfred - 2012-03-20 18:51

      I very much doubt he is rehabilitatad. He has spent half of his young life in prison, amongst hardened criminals. If he returns to SA, what would there be here for him? No work, no prospects, his easiest option would be to carry on with his crime, just like millions of others in this country blighted by a corrupt, inept, crooked and entrenched ANC government. USA, please keep him. He will probably commit another serious crime in your country and then do us all a favour and use your death sentence.

  • Marion - 2012-03-20 08:14

    Fail to understand the logic that arrests him when they were keeping him incarcerated instead of just deporting him immediately after his release!

      Gregory Wells-Clifton - 2012-03-20 08:21

      Released in January. He has had enough time to leave the States. Perhaps just not all the detail given here, as per usual

      Marion - 2012-03-20 08:40

      @Gregory - sorry, didn't pick up on that. You're right, he had enough time to leave the states.

      nanasei.kobbina - 2012-03-20 08:48

      How much does it cost? What if he did not have the dollars, they should have just deported him back to SA

      ttrevenen - 2012-03-20 15:46

      Absolutely agree with you Marion!

  • Mark - 2012-03-20 08:14

    In 1986 Kambule, then 18, was tried as an adult and received a 35-year-jail sentence. He is now 33. --Dont you mean 44?

      Pulverturm - 2012-03-20 08:24

      Mathematics obviously not this Journo's strong point :P

      Des - 2012-03-20 08:32

      he spent 15 years in jail and was then pardoned so 18 + 15 = 33, and before you really make a fool of yourself 18+35 does not = 44

      Leon - 2012-03-20 08:33

      Fact and News24 rarely mix well

      Des - 2012-03-20 08:34

      just to also clarify, the year he was arrested was not the same year he was sentenced, court cases like this takes many years before sentencing but he only served

      Des - 2012-03-20 08:39

      i apologise for not seeing your point of the 1986/96, i read an earlier article in IOL which stated 1996

      Deirdre - 2012-03-20 08:45

      He received a 35 year jail sentence but was PARDONED in January this year, so logic dictates that he has not served his complete sentence in which case this journo does not have his maths wrong ...

      Alvin - 2012-03-20 09:05

      He only served 15 of the 35 years. That makes him 33 years old.

      johnnymacza - 2012-03-20 09:15

      he only sat for 15 years

      Collen Maepa - 2012-03-20 09:18

      lol - there is no way that he'd be 33 if he was 18 in 1986, even if he didn't finish his sentence. He must be 34 this year or 33 turning 34. *these are the littile things that can make a journo lose credibility*

      Johan - 2012-03-20 09:30


      Art - 2012-03-20 09:38

      35/ 39/ 65 what ever... good thing is he is in THEIR JAIL... and not walking around a free man in South Africa... Keep him there!

      violet.bossut - 2012-03-20 10:09

      Mark read the story properly.

      nsda29 - 2012-03-20 11:25

      I think they meant 1996

      ttrevenen - 2012-03-20 15:48

      No Mark! He was actually 17 (News24 can't get their facts right) at the time - has served 15 (plus a few months) years and is now 33.

  • ZAR - 2012-03-20 08:15

    "In 1986 Kambule, then 18, was tried as an adult and received a 35-year-jail sentence. He is now 33. " THAT WOULD MAKE HIM 44 NOW NOT 33, PROB MEANT TO BE "1996"

      Deirdre - 2012-03-20 08:45

      He received a 35 year jail sentence but was PARDONED in January this year, so logic dictates that he has not served his complete sentence in which case this journo does not have his maths wrong ...

  • Marcel - 2012-03-20 08:16

    How the hell can he be 33 if he was 18 in 1986??? Accurate reporting much?

      nanasei.kobbina - 2012-03-20 08:53

      I agree with you Marcel, he cant be younger than me now when he was older than me i.e. 1986 i was just under 10 years

      nonceba.motsisi - 2012-03-20 08:56

      I remember this story Marcel, it was in 1996 not 1986.

  • Trevor - 2012-03-20 08:18

    LMAO...they not trying to stop his return you idiot!One department keeps him locked up,he is set free,it's not THEIR job to arrest him.Then the Immigration authorities find out and go and arrest him as they should,put him back in holding till he can be deported...this is NOTHING NEW it is done WOLRD WIDE..ok except South Africa, here we have the ANC welcoming anyone who is Black into Patricia, stop looking for media time by making idiotic claims...leave that to the ANC.

      luxolo.hlosana - 2012-03-20 09:04

      ANC accepts everyone regardless of color skin. We have many illegal whites, from all over Europe and America, we have illegal Asians, Africans (whether black or white), Illegal Pakistanis, Indians. Everyone is invited here.

      Art - 2012-03-20 09:40

      Yes Luxolo... and the 5m Tax Payers will pay to look after these illegal foreigners!

  • Herman - 2012-03-20 08:19

    Well, be prepared, another criminal on his way to sunny SA to start his new career as, yes, you guessed it, a criminal.....

  • Rey - 2012-03-20 08:22

    Maybe South African people cannot understand that in many other countries, they enforce the letter of the law, i.e. if you don't have a visa they arrest you, no exceptions. We should try it here.

      jarrod - 2012-03-20 08:32

      Wonder if he sets foot in SA if SARS will get him arrested for overdue taxes :)

      nanasei.kobbina - 2012-03-20 08:55

      @Jarrod, 18 years he was not yet employed so no reason for overdue taxes. He paid his dues in USA ito crime proceeds.

  • Blane - 2012-03-20 08:29

    Probably the ancyl new el presidento

  • Den - 2012-03-20 08:37

    thats very funny, got any room for fat juju?

  • Tom - 2012-03-20 08:42

    Had this Guy been a white Saouth African, the comments on this forum would have been very different.......

  • pieter.brown1 - 2012-03-20 08:42

    Laat ek raai !! Die USA is bang om hom daar te hou want hy gaan hul leer hoe word dinge gedoen .

  • comptonaj - 2012-03-20 08:47

    this whack job will probably be given a "Struggle Hero's" welcome and a cushy job in goverment on his return

      Art - 2012-03-20 09:42

      And the "welcome party", set up at the airport... will turn into an ANC Rally! LOL!

  • Cheslyn - 2012-03-20 08:54

    At least he will have a nice 'twang' accent and represent me (and great Joe Public) going to lavish meetings and ANC-backed parties -Throw him in the deepest part of Mississipi River! -I hope he used that time to acquire a degree or something!?

  • Wynand - 2012-03-20 09:00


  • Tojo - 2012-03-20 09:05

    if he was 18 in 1986, how can this dude be 33 years old now. did he invent a time machine while he was in prison?

  • Cathy - 2012-03-20 09:07

    Keep his hijacking ass there! We don't want him.

  • Thapelo - 2012-03-20 09:15

    Common sense again....did the US government expect this men to would have re-applied for his visawhen it expired,while in jail and initially sentenced for 35 years....come guys,dont make fool of yourself.

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-03-20 09:52

      His 1st step into freedom should have been to the immigration offices to apply if he wished to stay longer. He was given a grace period. Most probably do to a slow system, he was not arrested earlier because of his failure to apply. That is common law that you need to apply to stay in a country. USA was still lenient to him. Most other countries, like us in Africa, deport a person straight out of jail. If the article's facts are correct, I do not have any pity for him.

  • Michael - 2012-03-20 09:48

    Hey ! How about reading the full story ? He was a young guy - just a kid - sitting in a car when his so - called friend did the car - jacking and murder .The friend then did the plea - bargain dance and implicated him . Give him a break as he paid a heavy prison price for the shady company he kept all those years ago - if he is innocent , best of luck with your second chance in life and help other young people make better choices.

      ttrevenen - 2012-03-20 15:56

      WOW! Finally a voice of reason... and someone else who's actually bothered to get the facts of the case before commenting :o))!

  • Bongane Mthunzi Makwakwa - 2012-03-20 09:58

    Did he stop ageing at some point? If he was 18 in 1986 how can he be 33 today?

  • liso.silwana - 2012-03-20 13:54

    This bastard is originally from Zimbabwe...USA don't keep Him KISS HIM!!

      Perfume - 2012-03-20 15:02

      Articles are saying he is from Soweto :)

  • liso.silwana - 2012-03-20 13:56

    This bastard is originally from Zimbabwe...Please USA don't keep him just KISS him

  • Perfume - 2012-03-20 15:00

    If he was 17 in 1996 and spent 15yrs in prison means he is 32 turning 33 - according to articles I searched on Google

  • ttrevenen - 2012-03-20 15:45

    News24's basic facts of the case leave a lot to be desired! Here's an excerpt of the case from Amnesty International. On 25 January 1996 Azi Kambule, then 17, was with 21-year-old Santonio Berry when the latter saw Pam McGill, a local black social worker, in a sports car. Azi Kambule says that Santonio Berry decided to steal the car and forced Pam McGill at gunpoint into the passenger seat, telling Azi Kambule to get in the back. He then drove to a wood, told Azi Kambule to wait, took Pam McGill into the woods and shot her. Azi Kambule, who had no criminal record or history of violence, says he was unaware that Santonio Berry intended to steal a car or commit murder. To read the full story go to I think this man has served his time and should be reintegrated into society without further judgement.

  • nsinovich - 2012-03-21 07:39

    Azi Kambule - this does not sound like the name of a man of South African origin. Who is his family in South Africa and what language do they speak ?

      Joseph - 2012-03-21 08:08

      kambule is a South African name

  • Gail - 2012-03-21 08:49

    Presumably he was a first time offender or only just of age and so he is now being released because there is nobody standing in the way of him being paroled. He obviously didn't have money to start with which is why he was involved in hijacking to begin with and the fact that he wasn't immediately deported is in all likelihood because Ministry of Correctional Services and that of Home Affairs don't talk to each other.

      Patricia - 2012-03-21 16:05

      Gail please go back a few comments and read what Michael says. What he has written is the truth. I can't understand how people can comment if they do not know the full story.

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