The family of Annanias Mathe, the serial rapist and armed robber who made history when he became the only person to escape from Pretoria’s C-Max prison, have been informed of his death and will be given an opportunity to collect his body after a post-mortem has been completed.
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Correctional Services provincial commissioner, Mnikelwa Nxele, confirmed Mathe’s death, saying the officials had been in touch with his family as well as Mozambique’s consul in Durban.
“We have informed the family and we have communicated with the consul. The family will have to be given the body,” he said.
Nxele said that Mathe had died at Durban’s King Edward VII hospital at 4.30pm on Tuesday afternoon.
Mathe, a Mozambican national who was convicted of 64 charges, including rape, attempted rape, attempted murder, robbery and theft, made headlines in 2006 when he managed to escape by covering his body with petroleum jelly and sliding out of his cell window. He was caught a month later.
Six prison warders were dismissed in connection with his escape.
Prior to that, he had escaped while being an awaiting trial prisoner. There were also at least two escape attempts at Ebongweni C-Max Prison near Kokstad, with the most recent attempt being in September this year.
Nxele said that Mathe began complaining of stomach problems in December. There were attempts to treat him at the prison’s own facilities, but when Mathe’s condition did not improve he was taken to the Usher Memorial Hospital in Kokstad.
He was then referred to Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, where he underwent an operation.
On December 23, he was moved to King Edward VII Hospital in Durban, where he underwent another operation the following day. Three days later he died.
“Something was not right with his stomach. He was vomiting. We are still waiting for the post mortem results,” said Nxele.
The Democratic Alliance’s spokesman for correctional services, James Selfe, said in a statement released on Wednesday that Mathe’s escapes showed that with enough money prisoners could bribe themselves out of any situation. He did, however, pay tribute to the warders of Ebongweni C-Max Prison, from where Mathe had not managed to escape.
“It is considered impolite to speak ill of the dead. However, in the case of Mr Mathe, society is now free from a dangerous and malevolent individual.”
Erickson Zungu, the National Freedom Party’s spokesman on Community Safety and Liaison, said the case of Mathe highlighted the need to consider the party’s call for a referendum on reinstating the death penalty.
He said the party believed that Mathe and others who had committed such serious crimes should have received the death penalty.
“It is the undisputed fact that government could have saved a lot of state resource and time if the government opted for the death penalty in similar cases of Annanias Mathe. Taxpayers money spent daily on Mathe could have been used more wisely,” he said.[Source: Timeslive]