2 officials arrested for allegedly helping 16 inmates escape from 'Sun City'

2018-04-19 21:46
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Two correctional services officers have been arrested for allegedly helping 16 inmates escape from Medium A Johannesburg Correctional Centre almost two weeks ago, Gauteng police said on Thursday night.

Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini told News24 the men would be taken to court in Johannesburg on Friday.

A statement with further details would be released on Friday morning.

The inmates escaped through a pipe shaft and used an object to break the wall, before getting past the fence, correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said at the time.

A few days later, two of the men were shot dead in a Hawks operation, after a shootout ensued when officers stopped their vehicle.

READ: Two 'Sun City' escapees shot dead in KZN

A 9mm pistol and a toy gun were found on the men, said KwaZulu-Natal Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo.

243 escapes

The correctional services department recently told News24 that escapes from South African prisons had been significantly reduced over the past two decades.

Spokesperson Logan Maistry said the department had recorded 50 escapes from the country's 243 "correctional facilities" between April 2016 and March 2017. 

Maistry compared these statistics to 1995, when 1 244 escapes occurred.
Maistry said most correctional services officials were hardworking and should be commended for their efforts.

"We know that there is a small minority of unscrupulous officials, who themselves are criminals masquerading in DCS (Department of Correctional Services) uniforms, who will sacrifice noble goals, for a safer and secure South Africa, for a 'quick buck' on the altar of greed," he said.

"We want to repeat our warnings to such officials that your days are numbered, and you will not only be investigated, disciplined and dismissed, but will be criminally prosecuted."

In 2015/16, 34 correctional officials were charged and found guilty of corrupt activities. This increased to 37 officials in 2016/17.

Anyone who is found guilty of assisting an inmate escape or attempt to escape from a correctional centre or place of custody could be slapped with a fine and/or a jail term of up to 10 years.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime
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