Prison breaks: Gauteng top cop blames police negligence

There has been an increase in the number of escapes from custody in the past two months.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng police commissioner Lesetja Mothiba said in most cases where awaiting trial prisoners escape from custody, police are to blame for negligence.

There has been an increase in the number of prisoners escaping from custody in the past two months.

In May, seven inmates broke free from the Groenpunt Maximum Correctional facility in Vereeniging, and six were re-arrested.

Earlier this month seven awaiting trial prisoners escaped from the Lenasia Magistrates Court, with two still at large.

It's understood the group overpowered officers, broke the door, and made their escape through the ceiling.

Mothiba said police were investigating the behaviour of officers on duty when prisoners escaped.

"In most of our cases our members are negligent. For instance, one member will think that he or she can escort about four or five or up to 10 people and it is just not possible. We've lodged an investigation. Every year we dismiss members."

Meanwhile, police last week launched a manhunt for four awaiting trial prisoners who escaped from the Malamulele Magistrate Court in Limpopo.

Officials said five inmates broke free on Tuesday after overpowering officers while being loaded into a police vehicle to be taken back to the cells.

One of them later handed himself over to authorities.