Police probe KZN jailbreak

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Police at Newcastle in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands have launched an internal invsetigation into the pre-Christmas escape of three awaiting-trial prisoners from the police cells in the town.

Nkosikhona Tshabalala, 30, Ayanda Buthelezi, 18, and Xolani Ndlovu, 27, escaped after using a steel blade to cut through the bars of the cell at the prison gym. However, around-the-clock investigations by detectives resulted in the re-arrest of Buthelezi at Inquthu and Ndlovu was found at Witbank in Mpumalanga at his family's home on New Year's Day. Tshabalala, who is considered dangerous, is still at large.

Police spokesman Shoes Magudulela said a team had been assembled to investigate how the escape took place.

"We are investigating how the prisoners got hold of the blade. It is not clear how long it took them to cut through the bars but it seems they had been planning their escape for a while. If the investigation finds that some of our officials were involved heads are going to roll," he warned.

Magudulela said the two re-arrested suspects are under 24- hour surveillance and in leg irons.

They were wanted for housebreaking, theft and were known criminals who terrorised the community.

Magudulela also appealed to the community not to confront Tshabalala and to contact police should they spot him.