SANDF confirms one of its soldiers attacked police to free prisoners


The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has confirmed that a soldier arrested in Limpopo by the South African Police Service (SAPS) for helping free six awaiting prisoners is indeed a serving member of the military.

On 14 March, the soldier and an accomplice were arrested for their involvement in the attack on Police officers transporting six awaiting prisoners from Makhado Correctional Centre to Senwabarwana the day before, helping the detainees escape from custody.

The SAPS said the Limpopo Tracking Team and Murder and Robbery Unit followed up on information and arrested a 28-year-old Zimbabwean national whom is believed to be the brother of one of the escapees, and a member of the SANDF, aged 38. The suspects were arrested in Musina and the two vehicles used in the crime, a Mercedes Benz and a Toyota bakkie, were also found during the arrest and confiscated.

In a statement, the SANDF said it has “since established that one of the arrested alleged assailants is a Reserve Force member of the SANDF, Private [Kedibone] Albert Langa, and is currently on active duty under Operation Corona deployed alongside the Zimbabwe and South Africa borderline.”

SANDF Head of Communication Siphiwe Dlamini added that any member of the public, including members of the armed forces, are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. “The SANDF will abide by the outcomes of the law enforcement investigations and court pronouncement on the matter. Furthermore, the SANDF reserves its right not to comment any further on the matter until such time that the matter has been finalised by the SAPS investigators and the court of law.”

Chief of the SANDF, General Rudzani Maphwanya, reminded all members of the SANDF that ill-discipline, criminality, corruption and conduct unbecoming will not be tolerated in the military regardless of rank or position held in the SANDF.

The SAPS said the escapees are still at large and these are Forward Shumba, aged 26; Shingirai Nyandome, aged 32; Brilliant Sibanda, aged 26; Erick Sithole, aged 35; Moses Zambara, aged 32; and Alex Nkomo, aged 35.

Langa and his alleged accomplice Thabani Sibanda, a Zimbabwean, are facing various charges ranging from aiding and abetting, conspiracy to commit crime, possession of unlawful firearms and ammunition, attempted murder, defeating the ends of justice, malicious damage to property and discharging of a firearm.