Our reporter foils fleeing felons

Sowetan Reporter

Mhlaba Memela, a Sowetan journalist based in KwaZulu-Natal, yesterday helped police apprehend two murder suspects who had escaped from the holding area of the Dundee magistrates' court.

Jojo Zulu, 30, and Mzikayifani Gumede, 25, are serving life sentences for murder and robbery. They escaped after obtaining keys which were allegedly given to them by prison officials.

Memela and other journalists were gathered outside the court when all hell broke loose. Memela dropped his notebook, shoved his camera in his pocket and gave chase.

Despite police firing shots in the air to halt the suspects, they still made a run for it.

Onlookers saw Memela kick the first suspect to the ground while a member of the public pinned him down. Memela then lunged for the second suspect head first and brought him to the ground. Police were called in and the two men were arrested.

The drama stole the attention away from the David Rattray murder case.

The media contingent was waiting for a third suspect and alleged trigger-man in the Rattray murder case to appear when they saw police chasing the two men.

Memela said: "I wasn't really thinking about my actions. All I wanted to do was help the police.

"The suspects were much fitter and faster than the police. They outpaced the police, who couldn't keep up with them."

Shooz Magudulela, a police spokesman, said both suspects were dangerous.

"We found the keys to their handcuffs in their pockets. It is alleged that the keys were given to them by someone within the Department of Correctional Services," said Magudulela.

Magudulela said after the attempted escape, police had called for additional back-up from the Correctional Services Department to escort the inmates back to prison.

"They are also due to appear in court for other charges of murder and robbery," he said.

The two men later made a brief appearance in court and pleaded guilty to trying to defeat the ends of justice.