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Johannesburg - The number of escapes from South African prisons has declined the past decade, Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele's office said on Thursday.
The most escapes in the past decade were 281 in 2002/3, and the least were 41 in 2011/12, said spokesman Logan Maistry.
“Over the past four years... 225 escapees were reported, with the majority (67) of escapees in the Free State/Northern Cape region and the least (20) in the Limpopo/Mpumalanga/North West region.”
People remanded in custody accounted for 51 percent of those who escaped in the past four years.
The most recent escape was on August 25, when 11 people escaped from the Barkly East prison in the Eastern Cape.
Correctional services official Mzukisi Michael Dusubana, 54, was shot dead during the escape. Maistry said all 11 escapees had since been re-arrested.
“Although we are encouraged by reports that department of correctional services officials are succeeding in the down management of escapes, one escape is one too many,” said Maistry.
The department was continuously assessing strategies and infrastructure to secure correctional facilities, inmates in transit, and inmates in public places, such as hospitals and courts.
Maistry said negligent officials would face disciplinary action and if suspected of aiding an escape, they would be investigated by the police. - Sapa