mathe to serve 54 years in jail

THE man dubbed the Houdini of Pretoria's C-Max prison, Ananias Mathe, did not use Vaseline to escape through the bars of his cell on November 18 2006.

THE man dubbed the Houdini of Pretoria's C-Max prison, Ananias Mathe, did not use Vaseline to escape through the bars of his cell on November 18 2006.

Judge Geraldine Borchers said yesterday that Mathe was clearly assisted by prison officials.

Borchers sentenced Mathe to an effective 54 years in prison, saying he had to be removed from society for a long time.

Prisoners' human rights activist Golden Miles Bhudu immediately demanded that the Department of Correctional Services apologise to the public for lying about the way Mathe escaped from C-Max prison.

Bhudu said: "Manelisi 'Vaseline' Wolela must apologise for misleading the public. He is a blatant liar."

He said it was time to prosecute the Correctional Services officers who helped Mathe escape.

Wolela was the Department of Correctional Services spokesperson at the time Mathe escaped from C-Max.

Borchers sentenced Mathe to a total of 455 years on 64 charges of rape, indecent assault, attempted murder, aggravated robbery and housebreaking.

He will only be eligible for parole after serving 43 years of his sentence. By then, Mathe will be 76 years old.

"It is in my view that the court should not impose hundreds of years because no human being can live long enough to serve such sentences, and this makes a mockery of the justice system," said Borchers

She said the information that Mathe was a child soldier, received combat training in Russia and was contracted to the UN to dispose of land mines was not confirmed.

This was according to the information made available to court by the 33-year-old Mozambican's psychologist, Wicus Coetzee, earlier.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the sentence was appropriate because of the humiliating manner in which Mathe terrorised society.

Borchers believed Mathe was too dangerous to be rehabilitated.

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