Po­lice still look­ing for three es­caped in­mates

Pris­on­ers use Ku­tama jail pen­sion dis­pute to es­cape

Sowetan - - News - By Zoë Ma­hopo

Lim­popo po­lice are still search­ing for three pris­on­ers after a prison break rocked the Ku­tama Sinthu­mule Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre in Makhado.

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing cases of ar­son and ma­li­cious dam­age to prop­erty after pris­on­ers went on a ram­page, burn­ing part of the prison build­ing on Thurs­day night.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, four other in­mates who es­caped were re­ar­rested while three are still on the run. The prison, which has ca­pac­ity of 3 024 beds, is run by a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship with the Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices.

The pris­on­ers ap­par­ently took ad­van­tage of a labour dis­pute be­tween prison man­age­ment and staff to es­cape. Most of the es­capees were serv­ing time for crimes in­clud­ing mur­der, rape and armed rob­bery.

Union for Po­lice and Cor­rec­tions Or­gan­i­sa­tion sec­re­tary­gen­eral Lawrence Makatu said chaos broke out when work­ers were locked in a long meet­ing with man­age­ment.

Makatu said the meet­ing was ad­dress­ing the on­go­ing dis­gruntle­ment over pen­sion funds of about 600 work­ers.

He said pris­on­ers be­came im­pa­tient when the meet­ing took too long and they could not get their meals.

Makatu said the meet­ing took long be­cause man­age­ment failed to ac­count for dis­crep­an­cies in pen­sion funds.

Depart­ment spokesman Lo­gan Maistry said they could not say what had sparked the prison break un­til an of­fi­cial re­port was com­piled.

“Work­ing to­gether with the South African Po­lice Ser­vice we de­ployed ad­di­tional cor­rec­tional of­fi­cials to the fa­cil­ity to en­sure that the sit­u­a­tion is re­stored to nor­mal as soon as pos­si­ble,” he said.

Maistry said they would con­tinue to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion closely while pro­vin­cial po­lice spokesman, Brigadier Mot­lafela Mo­japelo, said they had re­ar­rested four of the es­capees at the week­end through in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the com­mu­nity.

The first es­capee, Chris Faku, 37, was ar­rested while try­ing to hitch­hike near Ban­de­lierkop on Fri­day night.

Faku was in jail for rob­bery with ag­gra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances. Mo­japelo said two more es­capees were found at a house in Water­val after a mem­ber of the com­mu­nity in­formed po­lice. Jab­u­lani Isaac Mahlangu and Thomas Mun­yai had been serv­ing time for rape and mur­der re­spec­tively.

The fourth es­capee re­ar­rested on Satur­day was Tshen­gen­dezi Manuka, 37, who was con­victed of rape and rob­bery.

Three pris­on­ers are still on the run. They are Phathut­shedzo Ne­madodzi, Raphael Ny­ota and Jus­tice Makamo.

Raphael Ny­ota

Jus­tice Makamo

Phathut­shedzo Ne­madodzi

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