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Port Elizabeth - The Department of Correctional Services together with the South African Police Services have launched a man hunt following the escape of four inmates at Mdantsane Correctional Centre in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday. 

Spokesperson for the Department of Correctional Services, Vuyo Gadu said the escape came to light after 7am on Wednesday morning, during the serving of breakfast. 

Gadu said the men who escaped were four maximum offenders. Lihle Zikholisile, 19, was serving 35 years for robbery, housebreaking, rape, and murder. 

Zimbabwean national, Norman Mukunuwendo, 22, was serving 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances. 

Escapee Norman Mukunuwendo. Picture: Supplied

Phikolomzi Sonakele, 23, was serving 12 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances. He has a pending rape case set down for next month at the Mqanduli Magistrate's Court, Gadu said. 

Sandile Vena, 22, was serving 23 years for rape, robbery and kidnapping. He also has another pending criminal case in King Williams Town. 

Escapee Sandile Vena. Picture: Supplied

Gadu said correctional services offender clothing was found at the back of the centre's perimeter fence. 

"It should be mentioned that they escaped unnoticed, and [we are] still determining how they have escaped," Gadu said.

"All these offenders are incarcerated for serious crimes, which include rape, robbery, firearms, ammunition and kidnapping. [They] are considered to be very dangerous. The Department is appealing to everyone to assist with any information that could lead to their re-arrest." 

The public was further advised to immediately contact their nearest police station and never attempt to apprehend the men. 

African News Agency/ANA