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MBABANE – One could be tempted to ask why the South African Police Service (SAPS) waited until now to investigate the alleged prison escape of murder suspect, Sipho Shongwe.

However, the court papers annexed to the affidavit opposing his bail application in the country provides some clarity on this issue where they reveal that investigations into the matter started some time back.

The warrant of arrest for City Sipho Patrick Shongwe was issued on October 18, 2017. This man is believed to be the same suspect who has been charged with the murder of businessman and football administrator Victor Gamedze.
He was alleged to have committed the crime of escaping from lawful custody in a South African correctional facility. He allegedly escaped from Barberton Maximum Prison.

Shongwe was described as being tall and dark in complexion. The warrant further states that he resided at 72 Queen Street Lombardy, Johannesburg at the time of his arrest.

A statement recorded with the SAPS by Nhlane Orismus Mashabela, who was the investigating officer in the case of escaping from lawful custody, states that the suspect was released fraudulently, while he was serving two life sentences on the cash-in-transit robbery and murder case at Bronkhorstspruit.

A total of R17 million was stolen during the robbery, and Shongwe and others were arrested and found guilty of the offence and subsequently sentenced.

Mashabela said the suspect was living around the vicinity of Mpumalanga and Gauteng Provinces.
The annexure shows that one SE Mokoena, an employee of the SA Correctional Services, was suspended without pay as an alternative to dismissal for the alleged erroneous escape of an offender. The decision was in effect from April 1, 2010.

A letter written to Mokoena dated 08/10/2009 shows that he was hauled before a disciplinary hearing on a count of allowing offender City Sipho Shongwe to escape from Barberton Maximum Correctional centre on March 25, 2008 at approximately 10:45am by not checking a J1 warrant of liberation properly with the court order and/or detention warrant.

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