By Sapa, Siyabonga Mkhwanazi and David Matsena

One of five immigrants who escaped from a repatriation centre has allegedly been beaten to death.

Five staff members at the privately run Lindela hostel for allegedly illegal immigrants, outside Krugersdorp, have been arrested for murder and attempted murder.

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has called on the government to institute a commission of inquiry into using the company.

West Rand police Superintendent Milica Bezuidenhout said five men escaped from Lindela on Saturday. The camp's security set out to recapture the men.

Around 9pm three Nigerians were re-arrested and taken back to the camp where they were allegedly beaten.

Eventually an ambulance was called, but a 25-year-old died on the way to hospital. He had head, back and chest injuries, as well as lacerations from barbed wire. The second man was admitted to Leratong Hospital in a critical condition while the third was treated and discharged. They also suffered buckshot wounds, the department of home affairs said.

Investigators found attempts had been made to wash blood from the walls and floor of the room in which the assaults had apparently taken place.

HRC commissioner Jody Kollapen said it appeared there were no checks and balances that made Lindela officials accountable to the government.