Gauteng police have launched a manhunt for six men, considered "highly dangerous and possibly armed", who escaped from the Springs Magistrate's Court on Wednesday afternoon.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters confirmed that they were investigating the circumstances surrounding the escape from custody of nine awaiting trial prisoners. Three of the escapees have subsequently been rearrested.
"Four of the escapees had made an appearance in court for alleged murder committed in Kwa-Thema in March 2019 and possession of [a] firearm, while the other suspects were appearing for housebreaking and theft, possession of drugs, trespassing and for being in the country illegally," said Peters.
These four are Phumlani Tshabalala, Mzandile Master Mbatha, Mduduzi Richard Sithole and Mongiseni Cyprian Langa. The four were arrested on charges of murder committed in Kwa-Thema in March this year as well as possession of firearms.
A fifth escapee is Sibande Sibekezele Xulu who was arrested on charges of housebreaking and theft in Springs.
Clayton Donovan Booysen and William Reddinghuiz were arrested in Springs for possession of drugs, while Anock Nyirenda and Augustine Mahlalela were arrested in Springs for being in the country illegally and trespassing respectively.
Xulu, Booysen and Nyirenda have since been rearrested and will now face an additional charge of escaping from lawful custody.
"The search for the other six continues, while police are prioritising the apprehension of the four murder suspects considered to be highly dangerous and possibly armed," said Peters.
Police are appealing to the public for assistance in locating the remaining escapees. Peters cautioned, however, that members of the public should not to confront the men, particularly the murder accused, as they were considered to be dangerous and possibly armed, but to rather contact the nearest police station should they spot them.
Information may also be conveyed anonymously by calling the Crime Stop number 08600 10111 at all hours, while tip-offs can also be given by utilising the My SAPS App that can be downloaded on any smartphone.