'Sun City' escape arrests praised, but more work needed on 'loopholes' in system

2018-04-20 19:34
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The African National Congress and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice have welcomed the arrest of two people linked to the escape of 16 inmates from the Johannesburg Correctional Centre, also known as "Sun City".

The 16 awaiting-trial prisoners escaped through a pipe shaft and broke through a wall in the Medium B Section at the prison on April 9.

ANC justice committee whip Madipoane Mothapo on Friday praised the "hard work" of the police and correctional services officials involved in arresting the two.

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

However, there was still work to do to capture the other 10 at-large suspects, and clamp down on "loopholes" in the system.

"Although we have seen a reduction in prison escapes over the years, this most recent incident shows that there are still loopholes in our correctional service system which allows for fraud and criminality," Mothapo said on Friday.

"While the arrest of the two correctional service officials is good progress, we urge investigating officers to leave no stone unturned to ensure that the 10 remaining escapees and others who may [have] aided them in their escape face the full might of the law."

'Human factor'

The committee heard this week from Justice Minister Michael Masutha that there was a "human factor" in the frequent escape attempts from correctional facilities across the country.

Acting regional commissioner Mandla Mkhabela said there had been at least 50 attempts around the country in the last financial year.

MPs said it was problematic that, in many of the cases, escapees had received help from the inside.

Committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga on Friday said the committee was "gravely concerned" about the incident, but welcomed the latest developments.

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

Motshekga praised the officials who helped apprehend the alleged corrupt correctional officers and said the few "rotten apples [are] damaging the image of the department".

The committee also heard that 80 incidents were foiled between April 2016 and March this year, due to "vigilant officers who take public safety seriously".

News24 reported last week that seven of the 16 inmates who escaped were wanted for murder.

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:    crime

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