Johannesburg - New data from the SAPS shows that suspects held in police custody are most likely to escape in the Limpopo province.
Since 2017, the province has recorded the highest number of escapes from police custody, with a total of 430 escapes and 321 of the escapees have been rearrested.
The province is followed by the North West with 197 escapes and Gauteng with 189 escapes.
National police commissioner Fannie Masemola released these figures last month during the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) meeting, following a series of letters written by the DA in the province since 2020.
DA provincial spokesperson on transport and community safety, Katlego Phala, has expressed her concern regarding the efficiency of the police in the province and has once again made efforts to deliver correspondence and unanswered written questions to the office of the MEC.
“Since 23 March 2020, the DA has sent three letters directly to (the MEC’s) office and submitted 20 sets of written questions to the Limpopo legislature for response by the MEC,” said Phala.
Phala delivered the DA’s questions to the office of Transport and Community Safety MEC Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya following claims by the MEC’s office that they had not received the letters.
“Yes, the letter has been received today. The administrators in the office of the MEC have today received the letters on behalf of the MEC,” said the MEC’s spokesperson, Mike Maringa.
The office of the MEC, however, believes the matter should be raised in the legislature.
“The DA is a political party and therefore they should raise this issue in the legislature and they know that. We can only have (a) response to this matter next week when we are back in the office from our out-of-office commitments,” said Maringa.
Escapes from police custody have become a common recurrence, with a number of incidents being reported this week alone in various parts of the country.
In his response to questions from the DA, Masemola said a national plan had been put in place to address the matter.
“The national plan to prevent escapes from police custody was developed and circulated to all provincial commissioners for implementation.
“The national plan is revised annually and the provincial commissioners were instructed to develop their own provincial plans and to align it with the national plans.”
Masemola added: “Police stations with multiple escapes are identified and visited, in order to determine trends and circumstances for each incident and to assist with preventative measures.”
Phala expressed her disappointment over the lack of communication within the province.
“To date we have not received a single response,” she said.