Police van escapees jailed for serious crimes

Mbongosi Mgoqi, left, and Jason Witbooi escaped from a moving police van while being transported to St Albans Prison on Tuesday
Mbongosi Mgoqi, left, and Jason Witbooi escaped from a moving police van while being transported to St Albans Prison on Tuesday
Image: Supplied

One of the men who escaped while being transported in a police van, had just been  sentenced to five years in jail while the other escapee has been accused of a Joubertina farmer's murder.

Jason Witbooi, 22, and Mbongosi Mgoqi, 24, escaped from a moving police van while they were being transported from Joubertina  to St Albans Prison in Port Elizabeth.

Police have warned the men should not be confronted as they are  considered dangerous.

The escape took place at about 11.20am on Tuesday while the police van was on the R62 near the Kareedouw/Humansdorp turnoff.

Insiders confirmed a warrant officer from Joubertina police station had been transporting the two men when they managed to bend the grill cover of the back window and escape.

Police spokesperson Captain Gerda Swart said the escape took place when the police van slowed down for a truck at the turnoff.

Within minutes of the escape, police summoned backup to scour the area.

The men are however still at large.

Mgoqi was en route to St Albans Prison to start serving his five-year jail sentence.

He had been found guilty of a culpable homicide on a farm in Joubertina in 2007.

Swart said Mgoqi killed Xokile Ketshengane, 30, on the Louterwater farm  on August 25 2007, amid claims that he was acting in self-defence.

Ketshengane was stabbed and assaulted during the attack, leading to Mgoqi being arrested on the same day.

According to police, he was released on bail in November 2007, but then went on the run before his re-arrest in George in 2011.

Mgoqi has been awaiting trial ever since.

On Monday, the court changed the charge from murder to culpable homicide and sentenced Mgoqi to five years behind bars.

The other escapee, Witbooi, is awaiting trial for the 2018 murder of retired farmer Norman Ludwig, 69, on his cattle farm in Valleisig, 10km outside Joubertina.

Witbooi was arrested in mid-October 2018 for the murder. 

Ludwig’s body was found lying outside the house near his kitchen door on October 5.

Ludwig had been beaten and hit over the head with an unknown object.

The murder weapon was not found on the scene and the only thing missing was money.

Swart urged anyone who has spotted the men, to call 10111 or Captain Erhard Wagener on 071-475-1787.

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