Makhanda escapees appear in court


Two prisoners who escaped from the Grahamstown Correctional Facility last weekend have appeared on court on charges relating to escaping from lawful custody. A third person has been charged with harbouring an escapee.

Notices circulated on social media warned that Lonwabo Ngqokoqwana and Luzuko Gxasheka, both considered extremely dangerous, had escaped from Waainek prison in Makhanda around 3.45pm on Saturday 12 December.

The two men, both convicted prisoners, were alleged to have climbed an inner wall and an outer fence to escape, Provincial spokesperson Colonel Sibongile Soci said. A Task Team comprising Correctional Services, Grahamstown COCC and Grahamstown K9 were immediately hot on their heels.

“During the morning of 13 December 2020, several leads were received from members of the community and just before 12pm the same day, a detective received information on the whereabouts of Zuko Luzuko Lizo Makhanda Gxasheka,” Soci said. “Information was followed up and the man was traced in Transit Camp, Joza, where he was arrested.”

On Monday 14 December 2020, just before 9pm, valuable information had beenreceived on the second suspect.

“The Task Team immediately followed up the information that Lonwabo Ngqokoqwana was in New Cottages, Joza. The address was confirmed and the Task Team swooped in.

“The fugitive fired shots at the members who returned fire and subsequently injured the fugitive. He was arrested,” Soci said.

The task team further arrested a man in whose premises the fugitive was hiding. He faced a case of harbouring of an escapee.

Both have appeared in the Magistrate’s Court in Makhanda on charges relating to escaping from lawful custody.

Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga praised all the members of the Task Team who were involved in tracing and apprehending the fugitives.

“The tenacity of the Task Team in exploring all avenues in order to trace the fugitives is to be lauded; the willingness of the community members to share valuable information with the police applauded,” Ntshinga said. “Tracing these escapees would have taken much longer without the valuable information received form the law-abiding citizens.”

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