Investigation launched into Mthatha High Court shooting


An investigation has been launched after two prisoners were shot dead while trying to escape from the Mthatha High Court on Wednesday. The two prisoners were due to appear at the High Court on various charges relating to armed robberies, hi-jacking, murder, rape and kidnapping.

They managed to overpower and disarm their escort before their escape was foiled by members of the Correctional Services Security Task Team and members of the SAPS National Intervention Unit.

“Upon arrival at the court, two prisoners that were escorted from the Kokstad Maximum Security Prison tried to escape by overpowering one of the members escorting them.

“A cross-fire ensued between the prisoners and the security team. The two prisoners died due to gunshot wounds sustained during the incident,” Eastern Cape SAPS spokesperson, Brigadier Marinda Mills said.

A correctional services official was wounded in the leg during the confrontation.

Department of Justice and Correctional Services spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the ministry will endeavour to make courts safer.

“The minister will convene a meeting with the head of the court services and security nationally to seek an intervention with the view to beefing up security measure in our courts, in view of the recent incidents in Pretoria and Cape Town,” Mhaga said.

Last month, a policeman and an elderly were wounded when two accused opened fire during their escape at the Pretoria Magistrate Court.

In Cape Town, a man was killed and two people were wounded in a shooting outside the Bishop Lavis Magistrate Court.