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handcuffsSowetan reports that the escape of prisoners at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Friday has been blamed on staff shortages and inexperienced court orderlies.  

Two murder suspects, Andile Ncanyelo and Njabulo Khumalo, who were due to appear at the court, allegedly overpowered court orderlies who were escorting them from a police truck into the holding cells.  One police officer was allegedly stabbed in the arm during the scuffle with the prisoners.  The daring escape led to the court precinct being placed under lockdown as police teams searched for the prisoners in and outside the building, where they weren’t found.  Court officers who were on duty on the day indicated that 16 suspects, including the two who escaped, overpowered inexperienced court orderlies.  Richard Mamabolo of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) commented the problem was that the ratio of police officials to the inmates was low.  “At times you find that there is one official who is responsible for transporting five inmates to different courts in one city.  This obviously poses a danger to officials,” Mambolo said.  A court officer who had been on duty said that security measures did not appear to have been taken into account on Friday as he saw at least three officers attempting to lead all the inmates into the holding cells.  “The officers are new and have no experience.  They look like they were reservists or came here straight from college,” the officer claimed.  This was the second time prisoners have escaped from the same court building in less than two months.

  • Read more of this Sowetan report by Tankiso Makhetha at SA Labour News

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