Man swaps names to get bail

Sakhile Mokoena

Sakhile Mokoena

An awaiting-trial prisoner got himself released from Nelspruit Prison on bail by pretending to be another inmate.

Patrick Maphanga, 23, who was arrested for rape and was refused bail, was released on February 27 after he pretended to be Bigboy Sambo, 34, another inmate who had been granted bail but did not have the money to pay it.

Maphanga obtained Sambo's admission details and gave them to his sister, who then paid the R500 bail.

The sister, Eunice Maphanga, 40, has been arrested and charged with aiding an escapee.

"Maphanga pretended to be Sambo and was released after he correctly responded to all required details," said prison spokesman Sarie Peens.

"This is the first incident of this nature in this region this year, and appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that incidents of this nature do not occur again," she said.

Maphanga's escape was not discovered until last week when he was supposed to appear in court in Nelspruit.

Maphanga is still at large and the community has been asked to contact the police if he is seen.

The commissioner of correctional services for Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West, Watson Tshivhase, said he was disappointed by the behaviour of Maphanga's sister. He asked relatives of suspects not to help them in the commission of crimes.