All prisoners who escaped from the Malmesbury correctional facility in the Western Cape have been rearrested, the Department of Justice said on Sunday.
“The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services confirms that all escapees in the Malmesbury correctional facility have been rearrested,” Department of Justice spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said.
He said Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola thanked all role players and community members “for their willingness to assist law enforcement agencies”.
He also thanked correctional services staff “for restoring stability”.
A manhunt was launched after the 68 awaiting trial prisoners escaped from the prison after overpowering officials during their exercise period at around 12:15 on Friday.
It is alleged that some escapees had vehicles waiting for them outside the prison.
As of Saturday, 65 of the 68 escapees had been rearrested.
News24 reported that Lamola had said officials were working around the clock to recapture the three prisoners still at large.
“Of the 68 escapees, 65 have been rearrested and I would like to congratulate prison officials, the police and the local armed response for their swift response in ensuring that the majority of the escapees were arrested.”
Problematic inmates transferred
He said the department’s Emergency Support Team and the police had worked around the clock to arrest them.
Lamola said on the day of the escape, the correctional centre had 451 offenders and 20 officials on duty.
He said the escapees overpowered officials, took the keys and locked three of them in a cell. They opened other cells before escaping through the main entrance and over the roof.
During the incident, nine officials sustained minor injuries and bruises. Lamola vowed that the escapees would be punished for their actions.