Barring escape is key to safety

It is indisputable that prison escapes compromise not only the security of the particular jails in which they occur but also the integrity of the country's criminal justice system.

It is indisputable that prison escapes compromise not only the security of the particular jails in which they occur but also the integrity of the country's criminal justice system.

This obviously escaped warders suspected of having helped murder suspect, Annanias Mathe, breach the security of the fortress-like C-Max prison late last year.

Following the dramatic escape, Correctional Services suspended nine officials suspected to have had a hand in the jailbreak. Mathe, a dangerous criminal, was recaptured early this year.

Correctional Services Minister Ngconde Balfour this week announced that nine of his officials have been implicated and that police would pursue criminal charges against them.

Disciplinary action following prison escapes is a rarity, something perhaps accountable for the frequency of the misdemeanour in this country.

All efforts must be made to gather enough evidence to help the prosecution team in their bid for a conviction in Mathe's case.

This is imperative especially after the Jali Commission's report on South African jails.

Prison escapes replicate work for police who have to redouble their efforts to retrace escaped convicts instead of solving new crime incidents.

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