Probe of jailbreak continues

KWAZULU-NATAL prison officials are continuing with the high-level internal probe into the conduct of the nine prison officials accused of assisting in the escape of eight prisoners from the Westville Correctional Facility.

Westville Prison spokesperson Nokuthula Zikhali said yesterday that no date had been set for the finalisation of the probe and that the "investigating team will take as long as they need and are no rush to finalise the process".

The escape last month led to the suspension of nine prison warders who were on duty on the day of the escape.

Zikhali said the warders had made statements about the jailbreak and were suspended so that the investigation could be conducted uninterrupted.

"The warders were suspended with full pay. They were normal warders and none occupied senior positions," Zikhali said.

She said out of the eight prisoners that got away two had been brought to book, including the one that had died after a gun battle with the police.

She said a statement made by an escapee that was subsequently caught would be viewed as an "important piece" of evidence if there was an inside man involved in the break.

One of the escaped prisoners was Thozamile Taki. He is facing 13 counts of murder and robbery and one of escaping from lawful custody.

He became known as the "sugar cane killer" after the bodies of murdered women were dumped in sugar cane fields along the province's South Coast.

He fell from the 4th floor and injured himself during the jailbreak, causing a delay in his court proceedings.

"Taki has recovered and is currently waiting for his next court appearance. He is under strict security watch from the warders," she said

Durban high court Judge King Ndlovu postponed Taki's case to April 30, when a date will be set for high court proceedings to resume.