Manhunt for fugitive Clatta Gumbo yet to bear fruit

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) and police continue to search high and low for convicted rapist and kidnapper Clatta Gumbo. The fugitive escaped before a consultation with a dietician at the Mamelodi Regional Hospital last week. 

The department’s spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo, told Sunday World this week that the department is confident that it will capture Gumbo.

Manhunt, investigations continuing

Nxumalo said the department’s internal investigation is still ongoing.

“The manhunt is ongoing. We remain optimistic that our tracing team will locate Clatta Gumbo and bring him back to custody. Critical at this stage is to rearrest the escapee. A DCS internal investigation is on-going. It will assist with more details on what happened on the day. Details of the investigation cannot be disclosed at this stage as the search is on-going,” said Nxumalo.

He said Gumbo went to see a dietician at Mamelodi Regional Hospital because he was referred to by a medical practitioner.  

Inmate was referred by doctor 

“Inmates get referred to an outside medical institution by a medical practitioner. This relates to clinical services that are not rendered in a correctional facility. Just like ordinary citizens, inmates are entitled to receive medical care,” said Nxumalo.

Last week Monday, Nxumalo said Gumbo attacked and disarmed a guard before making his way out of the hospital.

At the time of the escape, Gumbo was serving a life sentence for rape, kidnapping, and assault. He was serving the sentence at Baviaanspoort Correctional Centre in Tshwane.

“The Department of Correctional Services, working with other law-enforcement agencies, is conducting a widespread search operation. This is to locate and apprehend offender Clatta Gumbo. He escaped on Monday from the grounds of Mamelodi Regional Hospital…

“He was escorted to the hospital for a consultation with a dietician. That’s where he attacked the guarding official, disarmed him, and escaped from the hospital premises.

Appeal to the public for help

“Correctional services is appealing to anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the escapee. They are urged to contact the nearest correctional facility or a police station.

“Crucially, we encourage members of the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to law-enforcement authorities. Public safety is our utmost priority. Every effort is being made to effect the rearrest of Gumbo,” said Nxumalo at the time.

519 prison escapes in the past 10 years

The Bloemfontein Correctional Contracts (BCC) said in court papers in 2023 that there had been 519 escapes from other prisons across the country in the past 10 years.

The BCC is the company that hired G4S to run operations at the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein. This is where convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester escaped in May 2022.

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