'Gross security breach': Probe after murderer and rapist escape from Leeuwkop prison, abduct baby

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 Masondo is serving a 30-year sentence for rape and robbery and Mbali is serving 10 years for murder.
Masondo is serving a 30-year sentence for rape and robbery and Mbali is serving 10 years for murder.
SAPS
  • The DCS is investigating a security breach after two inmates escaped from Leeuwkop Prison.
  • They then allegedly kidnapped a child during a house robbery in Fourways, Johannesburg.
  • The two were serving sentences for murder.

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has said it is investigating a "gross" security breach after two inmates escaped and were later arrested for allegedly kidnapping an infant during a house robbery in Johannesburg.

Spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo told News24 on Friday that, while the inmates were back in custody, they were "seriously disturbed" by the incident and would ensure that the investigation left "no stone unturned".

"DCS is investigating a gross security breach wherein two inmates, named Malibongwe Masondo and Luvo Mbali, escaped from Leeuwkop Correctional Centre and have since been charged for kidnapping a child, hijacking a motor vehicle and escape from lawful custody.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 18: A general
A general view of Leeuwkop Correctional Centre.

"The law will take its course in dealing with the two inmates and DCS will be working closely with SAPS in ensuring that justice prevails for the victims who were tormented by these two [while] on the loose," Nxumalo said.

The pair escaped from the prison's courtyard by opening a hole in the fence, Nxumalo added.

According to the department, Masondo is serving a 30-year sentence for rape and robbery and Mbali is serving 10 years for murder.

News24 earlier reported that the pair were arrested by two Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) officers after the white Toyota double-cab they were driving at high speed landed up in a ditch in Diepsloot.

According to JMPD, the men allegedly broke into a house in Fourways, Johannesburg, on Thursday after their escape.

They robbed the homeowner and kidnapped her four-month-old daughter.

READ | Our officials are trained in escorting inmates - correctional services after prisoner's shooting death  

They ran off with the child as security guards arrived at the house, and then hijacked a white Toyota double-cab and drove towards Diepsloot. 

After crashing into a ditch in Diepsloot, residents attacked them, News24 reported. JMPD officers apprehended them and later handed them over to police.

JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said the child was found with the men inside the hijacked vehicle.

"The father fetched the child from scene and took her to Fourways Hospital," he said

READ | 2 escaped prisoners arrested for allegedly kidnapping baby during house robbery in Joburg

Leeuwkop Correctional Facility was recently in the news after 50-year-old warder Eunice Moloko was found dead at work on 10 August.

Nigel Marais, 30, an inmate already serving an 18-year jail term for murder and attempted murder, was arrested and charged with Moloko's murder.

Her body was discovered on the floor, with her jacket covered in blood, News24 reported. News24 reached out to Gauteng police for further comment. A comment will be added when it is received.

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