Four in court over daring jail escape

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

Four awaiting-trial prisoners who were involved in a daring prison escape in 2004, appeared in the East London high court yesterday.

Desmond Nompumza, 45, and Daniel Nqwiliso, 44, escaped from the East London Correctional Centre, and Cyprian Matshaya and Bathini Bovu, both former warders, were charged with helping the two escape.

Nompumza and Nqwiliso are charged with unlawful escape from custody, possession of an unlicensed firearm and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Matshaya and Bovu face charges of aiding and abetting an escape from lawful custody.

Nompumza and Nqwiliso are also on trial for robbery, two counts of murder, three of attempted murder and car hijacking.

They allegedly robbed Cash Paymaster Services in Tsomo on February 9 2004.

Judge ZM Ntlangulele advised Nqwiliso to apply to the Legal Aid Board to help him with legal representation.

The judge said he was not well trained in legal matters, as is the case with Legal Aid Board representatives.

Nqwiliso asked the court to give him until today to approach the Legal Aid Board.

But the court rejected his request, saying yesterday he should consult the board the same day.

Jan Engelbrecht, for the state, emphasised that the court needed someone to represent Nqwiliso until the completion of the case.

"I have difficulty with the accused.

"You will recall that on the previous appearances he made several promises that a Mr Dempers would be available," Engelbrecht said.

The case was postponed to today to give Nqwiliso time to get a legal representative.

The R5000 bail granted to the two former warders was extended.

Nqwiliso and Nompumza were remanded in custody until today.