A convicted murderer was mistakenly released while appearing at the Wynberg Magistrate's Court for another matter. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - A convicted murderer was mistakenly released while appearing at the Wynberg Magistrate's Court for another matter.

Phelo Mtala was convicted of three counts of murder, assault with grievous bodily harm and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

He was expected to appear at the Western Cape High Court today for pre-sentencing reports and sentencing proceedings.

Police spokesperson FC Van Wyk confirmed Mtala escaped on May 20 and was at large.

“Members noticed that the mentioned suspect, who was brought from Pollsmoor Maximum, was nowhere to be found. The prisoner was supposed to appear in court and then return to Pollsmoor. Police are in pursuit of the suspect and the investigation continues,” he said.

A source told the Cape Argus that Mtala was appearing for an attempted murder case. The source said he feared for witnesses involved in the case now that the accused was at large.

Provincial commissioner for Correctional Services Delekile Klaas said he would only get information on the matter today.

Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) spokesperson Emerantia Cupido said the escape took place outside the JICS jurisdiction.

“This is a matter for the police, which is investigating and in pursuit to ensure that the inmate is returned to serve out his sentence. Once the inmate has been apprehended and returned to a correctional facility, JICS mandate would be performed in the interest of the human rights of inmates and in consideration of society at large,” she said.

Mtala, of Nyanga, was convicted of crimes that took place in 2016.

He was found guilty of the attempted murder of Mthetheleli Mkanda, who was shot in his home in May 2016 and survived the attack.

In October, the same year, he shot Sizwe Madinga in a street in Gugulethu. Madinga got away, but Mtala and his friend followed him home where they then threatened his mother with a firearm.

Madinga’s mother tried to run away, but was shot. She also survived.

Mtala was convicted of the murder of Anga Dekeni, whom he and his friends fired shots at while at his home.

He was also convicted of killing Solethu Nongenzi and Mzimasi Majelimane. Majelimane was killed while inside his car.

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Cape Argus