Johannesburg - A 29-year-old male inmate at St Albans prison in the Eastern Cape has escaped, authorities said on Friday.

Ayanda Mzolima Makasi was serving a seven-year sentence for robbery with aggravating circumstances when he escaped on Thursday, the department of correctional services said in a statement.

He and other inmates had been working at a chicken project located within the medium-security facility.

Prison officials were notified at 1.05pm that Makasi was missing.

The public is urged to report any “suspicious” person to their local police station.

Makasi is from Motherwell township in Port Elizabeth.

The department is investigating how he escaped. “Operation Vala” was launched last month to increase security measures and prevent escapes during the festive season. The project will last until Jan 15.