SERIAL prison escapee Bongani Moyo and two of his gang members tried to escape from the Pretoria Central Prison yesterday.
The three men were seriously injured after their botched escape bid.
One of the men sustained further injuries when he tried to cross the busy Potgieter Street and was knocked by an oncoming car.
Moyo and two of his co-accused, Khumbulani Sibanda and Leon Dube, were treated for head, legs, neck and facial injuries after they were arrested outside the prison at about 8am.
The arrests came after a street vendor, Aaron Ncube, spotted the three jumping from the roof of the double-storey prison building and alerted prison warders.
Thabane Sibanda, the fourth member of the gang, was allegedly not involved in the escape bid.
The gang is awaiting trial and faces six counts of armed robbery with aggravating circumstances and possession of unlicensed firearms.
One of the robberies they allegedly committed was at Standard Bank in Pretoria, where R30,000 was stolen.
This was Moyo's third escape from custody.
The previous time Moyo leisurely walked out of the Pretoria Magistrate's Court, mockingly waving at the magistrate.
He was arrested in Hillbrow shortly afterwards.
Minister of Correctional Services Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula paraded the three injured men in casts, neck braces and bloodied clothes at the prison after their capture yesterday.
"As much as we are trying to be human, I cannot be sympathetic to people who do this to themselves," she said. "They brought this upon themselves."
The three men made their escape bid through the roof of one of the prison's buildings during exercise time.
Two of them were hanging from their prison uniforms from the rooftop of the prison when Ncube saw them.
"One of them had already crossed the road, the other one was hit by a car when he tried to cross the busy Potgieter Street, while the last one got stuck on top of the palisade fence," Ncube .
"There was a lot of blood on their clothes and the ground, and suddenly there were a number of prison guards around them."
The three were allegedly found with a gun and other weapons including knives.
Department of Correctional Services national commissioner Tom Moyane said it was clear they had assistance from inside the prison.
"The escape should not have happened considering the status and nature of crimes these people have been arrested for. Constant vigilance should have been exercised at all time.
"I promise you that heads will roll, we will even go through cellphones of the officials who were on duty to get to the bottom of this."
The men were caught with weapons and cellphones in prison in January, and were supposed to have been kept in leg irons on a 24-hour basis.
After their bungled escape attempt yesterday, the three might have learnt that:
* It is easier to walk out of court smiling and waving at a magistrate than to climb over the wall of a high-security prison;
* When deciding to climb over the wall of a prison, make sure you don't use the bright, orange prison uniforms tied together as a rope;
* If you do decide to use the bright orange uniforms, make sure you have enough of them to take you all the way down to the ground;
* If you make it down safely, make sure you look left, right, and left again before you run across a busy road so you don't get run over by cars; and
* Most importantly, check to see that the newspaper vendor is off duty so that he doesn't alert prison guards.