One of South Africa's most wanted criminals appears to have made one of the most mundane of escapes when he slipped from police custody by walking out of a Pretoria court door along with the public.
Bongani Moyo, arrested this year after a much publicised manhunt where his picture was plastered over nationwide media, was due at a hearing related to the armed robbery of nearly three dozen banks.
Police would not comment on the incident, but correctional services, which placed Moyo under police care for the hearing, had a few choice words.
"He was picked up by the police so he could go to court, and escaped under the nose of the police. We warned the police that this person had escaped before and therefore they should tighten their security," correctional services spokesman Phumlani Ximiya told Reuters.
Justice Minister Jeff Radebe slammed the escape saying he would make an issue of it at the next justice cluster meeting. Radebe said his aim to have protocols introduced to regulate the conduct of all officials who interact with detainees while they are being processed in the criminal justice system.
“I call on all officials in the criminal justice cluster to exercise caution, diligence and to be alert at all times when managing facilities to ensure that escapes – similar to the one involving Moyo and all others – are brought to an end without delay," Radebe said.
“I am aware that an investigation, internal and criminal, has been initiated (into Moyo’s escape)," Radebe added. “We hope the police will get to the bottom of this as soon as possible."
He also called for anyone found to be responsible for having helped Moyo escape to be punished.
“Moyo must be rearrested (soon) and those who make escapes of this nature possible must be flushed out of the system and face the consequences of their actions,” he said.
Police said on Thursday there were no new developments in efforts to find Moyo. There were still no answers as to how Moyo managed to escape despite his “extremely dangerous” status and the fact that he had escaped from prison before.
Moyo is facing charges of armed robbery and has been linked to more than 30 bank robberies since 2006.
The escape is his second this year.