SOUTH AFRICA: A man who allegedly raped a woman in North West and then escaped from police custody while receiving hospital treatment was rearrested in Tsakane, Gauteng.
Aubrey Zunguza, 27, was initially arrested on a rape charge in Boitekong near Rustenburg in January. He appeared in court and was denied bail.
Police spokesperson Sabata Mokgwabone said Zunguza fell ill and was admitted to hospital.
While being treated, Zunguza escaped on 20 July, said Mokgwabone.
According to Platinum Weekly, a publication based in Rustenburg, Zunguza is a Zimbabwean national who escaped from Job Shimankana Tabane Hospital while under police guard by breaking the wheelchair he was handcuffed to.
He then fled to Gauteng, where he started a new life and made a living as a hawker selling vegetables in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni, Mokgwabone said.
Zunguza’s arrest last week was by chance due to the alertness of constables Thulani Tshabalala, Lawrence Malaza and Thato Moalusi from the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD).
The officers were conducting an operation aimed at curbing driving while under the influence when they stopped at the fire station in Tsakane.
“The informant apparently overheard a conversation the suspect was having with someone else, telling them that he had escaped from custody in Rustenburg,” he added.
Following the details provided by the informant, Malaza said he reached out to the authorities about the suspect. The officers then carried out a tracking operation.
“We spoke to the Rustenburg police, who gave us details about the suspect, including the case number and a picture of him. After gathering all the information, we began our search.
“On Saturday, we went back to Tsakane to look for him, but he was not there. The informant told us he normally made rounds in that area with his trolley, selling vegetables. But I assumed he was not working that day,” Malaza said.
The officers could not return to the location the next day because of their drunk driving operation, but they resumed the search for Zunguza on 19 September. Zunguza was again a no-show because he had gone to restock his vegetables, said Malaza.
Malaza said he and his team returned to the area on 20 September.
Malaza said Zunguza “became uneasy around us because of our uniforms. We chased him by foot around the Tsakane area”.
The chase ended 40 to 50 minutes later when Zunguza was apprehended.
According to EMPD spokesperson Ignatius Maphike, Zunguza was taken to Tsakane police station and later transported to Rustenburg.
He appeared in court on Friday on a charge of escaping from police custody. He was expected back in court on 4 October on the rape charge.