Police launch manhunt for nine awaiting-trial prisoners who escaped from Springs court
Four men who appeared at the Springs magistrate's court with Nonhlanhla Matiwane, accused of ordering a hit on her husband, have escaped.
SowetanLIVE reported that it was believed the men escaped after their court appearance on Wednesday afternoon. It is suspected they escaped with other suspects who were in the court holding cells.
Matiwane appeared briefly alongside the four alleged hitmen, Mbongiseni Langa, Mduduzi Sithole, Mzwandile Mbatha and Phumlani Tshabalala. They are accused of killing 42-year-old Sibusiso Mthombothi.
An insider told Sowetan that heavily armed men entered from the back of the court when the suspects were about to be transported back to prison.
“I was on the other side of court, but I was told they went in the holding cells and pointed guns at everyone. They then sped off with the prisoners,” said the insider.
The armed men failed to take Matiwane with them after attempting to drag her to their vehicle, the insider said.
Gauteng police spokesperson Brig Mathapelo Peters said they were investigating the circumstances surrounding the escape of nine awaiting-trial prisoners and had launched a manhunt.
Peters said other suspects who escaped were facing various charges, including housebreaking, theft, possession of drugs, trespassing and being in the country illegally.
The escapees have been identified as Tshabalala, Mbatha, Sithole, Langa, Sibande Sibekezele Xulu, Clayton Donovan Booysen, William Reddinghuiz, Augustine Mahlalela and Anock Nyirenda.
Peters said the police were appealing for the public's assistance in locating the escapees.
“Members of the public are warned not to confront the prisoners, particularly the murder suspects, as they are considered to be dangerous and possibly armed, but to rather contact the nearest police station should they spot the wanted suspects,” she said.