Malmesbury - All of the 68 awaiting trial prisoners who escaped from the Malmesbury Remand Detention Facility in the Western Cape this past week have been rearrested, the justice and correctional services ministry confirmed on Sunday.
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola thanked all role players and community members for their willingness to assist law enforcement agencies with critical information, as well as correctional services officials for swiftly restoring stability, the ministry said in a brief statement.
On Friday afternoon, 68 prisoners escaped from the facility opposite the police station in Malmesbury, about 60km north of Cape Town, by overpowering officials during an exercise period.
Sixty-one escapees had been rearrested by early Friday evening, Western Cape correctional services regional commissioner Delekile Klaas said at the time. Most of the prisoners were from the Vredenburg area on the West Coast.
Klaas said the department's emergency support team and the South African Police Service (SAPS) had intensified the search for the remaining prisoners.
"The incident happened at about 12.15pm when officials were providing exercise to inmates. At the time, the centre had 451 offenders and 20 officials on duty," he said.
The escapees apparently overpowered officials, took the keys, and locked three of them in a cell before opening other cells and escaping through the main entrance and over the roof. During the commotion, nine officials sustained minor injuries and bruises.
Klaas said the situation was stabilised at the facility and the emergency support team had been activated to monitor the centre. Some of the "problematic inmates" had been transferred out of the facility to maximum facilities in the region.
African News Agency/ANA