Mail & Guardian Reporter
ONE of the suspected killers of Eliakim “Pro” Khumalo, Samson Masithulele, who escaped from police cells in Soweto earlier this week, was rearrested two days later.
Lawrence Mazimba (22) and Masithulele (20) are due to stand trial in September for the murder of Khumalo. The father of Bafana Bafana star Doctor Khumalo, he was gunned down last year.
But the two, and five other prisoners, escaped from custody when two men claiming to be relatives smuggled a weapon into the cells. A guard was held up and his keys were taken.
Police rearrested Masithulele in Soweto after a tip-off from a member of the public. A police representative said Mazimba was expected to be rearrested as soon as the public had given a number of good leads.
The Department of Correctional Services says it still has “no idea” who was behind the escape of gangster Joshua Rabotapi from police custody in February.
He was arrested at his luxury home in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs in connection with 16 counts of murder and 30 armed robberies.
Rabotapi is allegedly the mastermind behind some of the most daring bank robberies, which have escalated dramatically in the last three months.
“We have got no feedback, no information, nothing,” said department spokesman Chris Olckers.
Correctional Services Ministry representative Bert Slabbert said “corrupt” warders were behind many of the prison escapes.
About 1 000 prisoners escaped from police cells in the first eight months of last year. Less than 10% of them were rearrested.
Another 259 inmates have escaped from prisons in the first three months of this year.
Olckers said an anti-corruption unit was now operating within the department and plans were advanced to infiltrate undercover investigators to try and reduce the large number of escapes from the country’s prisons.