SERIAL escapee Bongani Moyo will spend 17 years in a South African jail for two escapes from custody, the Pretoria Magistrate's Court ruled on Tuesday.
Moyo, a Zimbabwean, has escaped several times while awaiting trial but has yet to be convicted of any of the other charges against him.
These include bank robbery, armed robbery, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, and resisting arrest.
Finding him guilty of escaping from custody from the Pretoria Magistrate's Court in August, magistrate Len Miller sentenced him to three years' imprisonment.
Miller refused to order that the sentence run concurrently with a 14-year term imposed by the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on June 4 for an escape from the Johannesburg police station.
Moyo, 29, walked out of the court building on crutches on 10 August after being made to sit on a bench outside the courtroom where he was appearing with three others on charges including armed robbery, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, and resisting arrest.
The magistrate rejected Moyo's evidence that the investigating officer told him to walk out of the court building.
He found contradictions between Moyo's evidence and that of his witnesses, Khumbulani Sibanda and Thabani Sibanda, who testified in May and who are in custody with him in connection with an array of crimes, including armed robberies.
Miller said even though Moyo was not inside a holding cell with others, the court had ordered him and his co-accused to be held in custody until their next appearance.
"The accused knew he was a prisoner and it was wrong for him to do so [escape]. You had no reason for leaving," he said.
"This court heard that the accused had appeared in this court whilst on crutches because he was injured. The officers had left him to sit on a bench because of his injuries," said Miller.
In argument in mitigation, Moyo's lawyer Donald Somo told the court he was a single parent of two children, following the death of his wife.
However, prosecutors argued that by putting up a drawn-out legal fight against the escape charges, Moyo had shown that he was not remorseful about his actions.
Regarding the series of armed robbery charges, Moyo, Leon Ncube and the Sibandas were informed in May that their trial had been transferred to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria and set down for trial from 11 to 28 March next year.
Moyo, Khumbulani Sibanda and Ncube also face a charge of attempting to escape from the Pretoria Central Prison earlier this year. The three allegedly used prison overalls to scale a perimeter wall. A street vendor saw them jumping from the roof of the double-storey prison building and called the prison warders.
In March last year, Moyo escaped from Boksburg prison, where he was awaiting trial for alleged bank robberies.
He was recaptured at the Beitbridge border post almost three months later when he re-entered South Africa from Zimbabwe.