GP dept concerned over Tembisa prisoner's escape from custody

Joshua Shongwane shot an officer to death while escaping from custody at the Tembisa Magistrates Court.

Police have launched a manhunt for Joshua Bomba Shongwane who allegedly shot and killed a police officer before escaping from the Tembisa Magistrates Court cell on 12 October 2016. Picture: Saps.

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng Community Safety Department says it is investigating the circumstances around the escape of an awaiting trial prisoner at the Tembisa Magistrates Court.

Joshua Bomba Shongwane was due to appear in court yesterday on 9 charges of hijacking and one of escaping from custody in 2015 when he shot an officer to death while escaping from custody.

It's understood Shongwane had a firearm while he was in the cells, which he used to hold up three police officers before shooting a captain to death.

The department's Thapelo Moiloa says it is unacceptable that a repeat offender was left alone to find an opportunity to escape from a court holding cell.

He says he would expect more to be done by officials to ensure the inmate is heavily guarded.

"The MEC has even called for all our members to be always vigilant, particularly for people who are deemed dangerous. It is unacceptable that young people will be escaping and then hence the MEC is in provincial commissioner."

Moiloa says the Department of Community Safety is working closely with the South African Police Service to find out how Shongwane was able to get a firearm in his possession while he was in custody.

A reward has been promised for anyone who comes forward with information on Shongwane's whereabouts.