E Cape prison escapees arrested

Pretoria: Correctional Services Regional Commissioner Nkosinati Breakfast says there are strong leads that could help with the re-arrest of one escapee after 14 of the 15 Christmas Day escapees from Fort Beaufort Correctional Centre were apprehended in the Eastern Cape.

“The unprecedented cooperation of the South African Police Services (SAPS), the community, parents of inmates and Correctional officials has ensured that 14 of the escapees were rearrested within three days,” Breakfast said on Sunday.

Breakfast said two fathers from Qanda Location in Middledrift and Balfour brought back their sons, demonstrating the ideal scenario of corrections as a societal responsibility, where families play a critical role in correcting the offending behaviour.

Breakfast asked the remaining escapee, Sive Mtunyelwa from Alice — who is due to appear in court on 5 January for robbery and rape charges — to hand himself over to the police or at the nearest Correctional Centre.

It is said that the re-arrested inmates are remand detainees facing various charges including murder, rape, robbery and assaults.

The 15 escapees broke through the roof of the Fort Beaufort Correctional Centre, which houses sentenced offenders and remand detainees, during the early hours of Christmas Day.

The department said only 15 of the 22 youth remand detainees incarcerated in one cell at the centre escaped, and it was only noticed at 3.50am on Christmas Day. Four escapees were re-arrested almost immediately.

Breakfast said only one incident of escape was registered in the Eastern Cape since the launch of the Festive Season security plan called Operation Vala on 25 November 2014.

The incident is being investigated.

Breakfast reassured the public that Correctional Services, working with its partners within the criminal justice system and the communities, will do everything possible to ensure their safety.