Wanted Port Elizabeth man escapes - manhunt underway
Considered extremely dangerous and hiding in the Bay
A manhunt has been launched for a wanted murder suspect who escaped from Walmer police station by climbing through an open window at 12:30pm on Friday.
By 1pm, the police helicopter was airborne searching the streets of Walmer while police vans patrolled the streets.
The man, identified by police as Sizwe Jika, 27, is wanted for the murder of Ann Smit, 86, who was beaten with a hammer in her Kamma Park home earlier this year.
Late on Friday afternoon, police warned that Jika should be consider “extremely dangerous” and appealed to residents to contact police if he was spotted.
Smit was found lying in a pool of blood in her house in Martha Street on May 28.
Two weeks after the attack, one of the suspected attackers was arrested while his accomplice, Jika, had been on the run for about four months.
Police yesterday confirmed that Jika was wanted for several house robberies and burglaries in the Port Elizabeth area as well as for Smit's murder.
According to officials Jika was caught late on Friday morning after he and a friend were found walking in Adam Street in Charlo.
The two suspects were taken to Walmer Police Station in Main Road, between 8th and 9th Avenue, where Jika then jumped out of an office window and escaped.
Officials involved with the search confirmed that Jika was recognised as one of the men who was wanted for Smit’s murder when he was nabbed.
Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said: “The two were taken to the police station where they were being profiled. While police were taking their fingerprints and profiling them, the man (Jika) managed to escape through an open window in the office,” she said.
“The alarm was raised and police chased him down the street but were unable to catch him. A full scale search was launched including the helicopter and other units.”
Officials on the scene said Jika ran towards Prospect Road in Walmer.
The man who was arrested along with Jika did not try to escape and is still in custody while police continue profiling him.
Naidu said by late afternoon – after Jika's escape - it was confirmed that Jika was wanted for a series of other violent crimes.
“Before he fled, his fingerprints were taken and it was confirmed that he is wanted for the murder (Smit) as well as a string of other crimes,” she said.
Mount Road cluster commander Major General Thembisile Patekile, who was personally involved with the search, said an internal investigation was already underway to establish how Jika had escaped.
“I have tasked a team of detectives to take this case and run with it. They are currently working on it as part of the 72 hour action plan. We need this suspect (Jika) found immediately,” he said.
Asked about the escape, Patekile said it was subject to an investigation and several questions remain unanswered.
“We are also going to open a case of escape from lawful custody which, when rearrested, he will also be charged with,” he said.
Smit was found after Neighbourhood Watch patrol member Gerrit Koen – who lives in the same street – spotted two men scaling her perimeter wall and gave chase.
In the meantime, patroller Marco van Niekerk went to the house and found a semiconscious Smit lying in a pool of blood in the house.
Detectives also found an axe lying outside in the garden and a hammer inside the house.
Smit died in Greencares Hospital weeks after being beaten during the robbery. She was discharged from hospital about a week after the attack but was readmitted a few days later due to complications.
Anyone who sees Jika or knows of his whereabouts is urged to contact 10111.