By Staff Reporter
POLOKWANE-The Limpopo province has recorded the highest number of escapes from police custody in the past five years – a total of 430, with 40 officers charged for negligence.
National police commissioner Fani Masemola released the figures following written questions by the DA in Limpopo.
According to DA statement, these questions were prompted by the latest incident on 15 February 2022 when Tsepo Botata escaped from a police van whilst being transported to Polokwane prison by the SAPS.
The statement further says the written questions were simultaneously submitted to the MEC for Transport & Community Safety, Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya, but no response is forthcoming.
Meanwhile DA Provincial Spokesperson for Transport & Community Safety, Katlego Suzan Phala, will deliver correspondence and unanswered written questions to the office of the MEC for Transport & Community Safety, Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya on Friday, May 12.
The responses from National Police Commissioner, Fani Masemola, indicates that during the last 5 years the following escapes out of police custody in Limpopo were recorded:
- 230 escapes from police holding cells (the highest nationally)
- 24 escapes from police vehicles
- 176 escapes from physical police detention
From the 430 escapees, only 321 were re-arrested leaving 109 criminals to endanger the safety of our communities.
It is unacceptable that over 5 years, only 40 police officers were charged for negligence in the 430 incidents; in the Free State there were 179 escapes over the same period and 147 officers were charged with negligence.
The DA is concerned that a lack of adequate detention facilities and minimal resources and the lack of effective training, increases opportunities for criminals to escape.
Furthermore, the inefficacy of SAPS to secure prisoners and prisoners awaiting trail during their incarceration in police cells and the transportation to and from court is putting ordinary citizens at great risk.
We are concerned about MEC Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya’s failure to provide answers to our questions, as she is mandated to provide is indicative of a lack of transparency in her department.
The DA will continue to accentuate the challenges within the SAPS that prevent our men and women in blue to ensure their own safety and the safety of our communities.