Cop let prisoners escape

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

An Eastern Cape police officer has been found guilty by an internal disciplinary hearing of helping prisoners to escape from Mthatha central police station cells in June.

Police spokesman Superintendent Mzukisi Fatyela yesterday said the cop, a sergeant who had been suspended without pay, would face criminal charges for aiding the prisoners to escape from police station cells.

Initially, the officer had claimed that he was overpowered by seven awaiting-trial prisoners in the cells, who later escaped.

However, the hearing established that this was not the case.

It now appears as if the policeman's days in the SAPS are numbered.

"The officer in question has now been deemed un fit to work for the SAPS. We are still waiting to hear the final decision about his future from the provincial office," he said.

Fatyela said police investigations revealed there was an agreement that the cop would get "this and that" from the escapees.

Fatyela would not confirm or deny whether the officer had accepted bribes.

He said he would reveal further information only when the matter had been finalised.

"The only thing I can tell you now is that there's enough evidence showing that the officer helped the inmates escape," he added.

During their escape, the prisoners allegedly grabbed keys from the officer, who was alone in the cells, and were able to set themselves free.

Fatyela said the policeman knew he should not have been in the cells alone. If the officer were to be expelled, Fatyela said, that would send a message to other corrupt cops.

Attempts to get comment from SAPS director, Miranda Mills, were unsuccessful.