Bela-Bela police in the Waterberg District of Limpopo have launched a manhunt for an awaiting trial prisoner, Jimmy Chauke, who escaped from lawful custody.
“Jimmy Chauke, 31, escaped from the Bela-Bela Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, February 7, at about 8.05am,” said Limpopo police spokesperson, Colonel Malesela Ledwaba.
“He was arrested in connection with two cases of burglary at a residence which took place around Bela-Bela in March and December 2023.”
He said the circumstances surrounding the daring escape are subject of an ongoing investigation.
“The initial reports suggest that the suspect (Chauke) was brought to court from a holding cell to consult with his legal representative,” said Ledwaba.
A case of escape from lawful custody was opened for further investigation.
Meanwhile, acting provincial commissioner of police in Limpopo, Major General Jan Scheepers has “strongly” condemned the incident and called for the re-arrest of Chauke.
“Police are appealing to members of the public, including the families of the suspect, to assist with information that may lead to his re-arrest.”
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stop on 086 001 0111, the nearest police station, or send information on My SAPS App.
In November, IOL reported that police at Saselamani, in the Vhembe District, launched “a massive” manhunt for three awaiting trial prisoners, aged 32 and 33, who escaped from police detention.
At the time, Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba said the trio escaped in the early hours of the morning, through the roof of a police station.
“Police officers were on duty on Thursday, November 2, at about 3.26am when they were conducting a routine of hourly patrol duties. They heard an unusual noise from the cells,” Mashaba said at the time.
“Upon arrival in the cells, they discovered that three of the inmates escaped through the roof.”