Mpumalanga police have completed their search for two murder, rape and robbery-accused men who escaped from police custody in late January 2021, with a 24-year-old man apprehended on Friday 5 February.
Having previously rounded up the other suspect on 27 January, a day after he and his co-accused managed to slip away from officers tasked with transporting them from their cells to the nearby magistrate’s court to face the heinous charges that have been laid on them.
South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson, Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said in a statement on Tuesday that the public had played a significant role in ensuring that the two men were rearrested.
“The police in Mpumalanga would like to voice their appreciations to the public for their involvement in making sure that the second suspect who escaped from lawful custody in a police van near Ermelo Correctional Centre on 26 January 2021, is rearrested,” he said.
He said that the second suspect, Sabelo Nkosi, was tracked down at a hiding place at a house in the Khayelisha Township near Ermelo, Mpumalanga. He subsequently appeared before the Ermelo Magistrate’s Court on Monday facing a charge of escaping from lawful custody in addition to his initial charges.
Hlathi said that Nkosi’s co-accused – who had a far shorter stint on the run from authorities appeared before the same court last week Thursday. He said the case of escaping from lawful custody against the two was postponed to 22 February 2021, for further investigation.
The duo then appeared before the Mpumalanga High Court in Breyten on Monday to face their initial charges of murder, attempted murder, two counts of rape, two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances. The matter was postponed to Monday 15 February 2021 for trial whilst both remain in custody.
Hlathi said that police management in the province is “grateful to the community members who displayed continuous support in the fight against crime” and for the “excellent collaboration depicted between the community and the police through the SAPS’s Crime Intelligence members”.
He said that this cooperative relationship had helped police “relentlessly collect and coordinate information that led to the rearrest of the two suspects”.
Police published pictures and information of the villains when they escaped, and the public responded with the useful information needed to ensure they were rearrested.