The escapees, Mirvan Witbooi, Emile Lindinders, Courtline Oliver, Siphenathi Ntantiso, Curtley None and Gershwin Mol, used a metal object they took from one of their beds to bend their cell’s burglar bars on Sunday night.
Ntantiso was yet to be caught.
The six men escaped from Pollsmoor Prison Medium B prison unit, Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Simphiwe Xako said. Their ages ranges from 21 to 25 years.
The men have been serving sentences at the prison for crimes, including attempted murder, housebreaking and rape, fled after removing bars with a metal pole.
Correctional Services provincial commissioner Delekile Klaas said the men bent their cell’s burglar bars, broke a window and jumped from the back of the prison’s backyard. Prison officials discovered the escape an hour later before calling for back-up. For the 139 offenders detained at B5 unit, there was only one official on duty, said Klaas.
He said in the cell in question there were 26 offenders.
“The incident happened at night and few of our officials were on duty. But because it was at night and dark, that could be one of the reasons they could not be detected,” he said.
Cases of escaping from custody were reported at Kirstenbosch police station.
The fence where the prisoners jumped was “not electrified”.
“This is a new fence that has just been installed,” said Klaas.
He said the escapees used maximum force to break the burglar bars and the window. Some of the offenders were due to be released in May, another was serving 514 days for breaking his parole, another one was serving 12 years for housebreaking and attempted murder while another one was serving four years for rape, said Klaas.
“These offenders apparently threatened other offenders in the cell not to make a noise and not indicate they are breaking a window,” Klaas said.
“We view what they have done in a very serious light and we are of the view that they are dangerous, the fact that they escaped” he said.
He said the prison’s Emergency Support Team and the police were searching for the escapee. Members of the public were urged not to approach him but rather to contact the nearest police station.