IFP calls for heads to roll after another attempted jail break

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The IFP has called for an urgent investigation into the latest escape attempt by dangerous prisoners at Empangeni's Qalakabusha Prison two weeks ago.

It is alleged that two highly dangerous inmates, part of a notorious gang that escaped in August last year, again tried to dash to freedom from the northern KwaZulu-Natal prison a fortnight ago.

Last year, 10 inmates escaped from Qalakabusha after colluding with prison warders. The gang was re-arrested and one of them was killed in a shootout with police. A number of warders were subsequently suspended.

Sybil Seaton, IFP spokesman on correctional services, said there was a need for an urgent inquiry into the second attempted escape by the two.

"It has been reported that these prisoners are guarded by a highly trained SAPS emergency team. It is alleged that the guards are the only people allowed to have any contact with these prisoners.

"This then begs the question, why are these dangerous prisoners still not being kept in a C-Max prison as we were initially promised?"

"And how did these dangerous prisoners manage to find keys to unlock their handcuffs?" Seaton asked.

She said it was "very frightening" to know that the gangsters have not been moved to Kokstad's C-Max as promised.

"We would like to know from Minister Ngconde Balfour how far the investigation has progressed into the escapes and if anyone has been found guilty of corruption as yet," she said.

Seaton said it was not clear when the two inmates got the keys to unlock their handcuffs.

She said drastic action was needed before these prisoners tried to escape again.

"The minister should tell us why these prisoners were not moved as promised?

"We call for a full investigation and for the guilty parties to face lengthy prison sentences," she said.

"Suspending corrupt prison and police officials is not good enough; they should face the full brunt of the law."

Attempts to get comments from correctional services spokesman Manelisi Wolela were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.