A POLICE inspector has become a living example that negligence will not be tolerated by his bosses after his arrest for aiding five awaiting trial prisoners to escape.

Inspector Simon Mashele, 56, of Witbank police station, appeared briefly in the Witbank magistrate's court onMonday charged with aiding five awaiting trial prisoners to escape.

He was not asked to plead and was released on a warning pending his next court appearance on March 18.

Mashele allegedly failed to lock the door leading to the cell from where the escapees dashed out between New Year's Eve and in the morning of New Year's Day.

After the escapees had dashed out of the police station a manhunt ensued and police received information that some of them were hiding at the Coronation squatter camp. Police then raided the camp.

One of the escapees, Forever "Nandos" Manyisa, 21, a Mozambican, was shot dead by the police at the squatter camp after he allegedly grabbed an R5-rifle from a policeman and threatened to shoot everyone.

"The suspect had been arrested for eight house robberies in Evander, two separate house robberies in Leslie near Secunda and several cases of house robberies in Witbank," said Mpumalanga police spokesperson Captain Leonard Hlathi yesterday.

The escape of the five prisoners brings to 36 the number of escaped awaiting-trial prisoners within 24 hours in the province.

A total of 31 awaiting-trial prisoners escaped from the Barberton police cells on December 29 and 30.