Makwetla: There's evidence officials aided inmates in prison escapes

Deputy Justice minister Thabang Makwetla told Parliament’s justice committee that a 'human factor' has played a greater role in the recent escapes than his department’s stretched resources.

Pollsmoor Prison inmates looking out of a window at the facility. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Deputy Justice Minister Thabang Makwetla says recent prison breakouts in Johannesburg and Cape Town could not have taken place without the help of Correctional Services officials.

He’s told Parliament’s justice committee that while investigations continue, a “human factor” has played a greater role in the recent escapes than his department’s stretched resources.

Makwetla’s says he has evidence that officials aided and abetted inmates involved in recent prison escapes.

“It is not so much the levels of resources that are responsible for the escapes, but there is a human factor challenge that is beginning to creep in here.”

Makwetla did an on-site inspection at the Johannesburg Correctional Centre better known as Sun City after the recent breakout there.

“There is clear evidence that without assistance there's no way that that those inmates would have escaped.”

Justice Minister Michael Masutha told the committee preliminary reports he has received on the escapes in Johannesburg and from Pollsmoor prison near Cape Town indicate that officials failed to observe proper procedures. He said there’ll be disciplinary action.