Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
THERE was drama at the Victoria Falls magistrates’ courts on Monday afternoon when a teenage boy, recently sentenced to 11 years in jail for 18 counts of unlawful entry and theft, stormed out of a courtroom and escaped outpacing court officials in movie style.
He was eventually captured when members of the public joined in the chase.
Zinedine Zibusiso Siziba, who recently turned 17, was last Wednesday convicted on his own plea of guilty to the 18 counts when he appeared before Victoria Falls magistrate Ms Lindiwe Maphosa.
Basing on a recommendation from a probation officer that Zinedine be treated as an adult for purposes of sentencing as he had failed to reform, the magistrate sentenced him to 11 years in jail for a combined 18 counts of unlawful entry and theft which were in two court records.
On the first record which had 10 counts of both unlawful entry and theft, Zinedine was sentenced to a total of five years of which two years were suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.
On the other eight counts, he was sentenced to six years and two years were suspended on similar conditions.
The magistrate said both sentences will run concurrently meaning Zinedine will serve an effective four years. He stole property worth $41 853.
Previously, Zinedine had escaped prison life severally because of his age but he continued committing crimes.
On Monday Zinedine, who should be in Form Three, had been led to the courtroom where he was supposed to appear again for 36 other counts of a similar nature when he decided to flee.
According to court sources, the boy suddenly stormed out of the courtroom leaving court officials and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officers shocked.
Efforts to apprehend him in the courtyard yielded nothing as the boy, who had removed the prison garb shirt, slid past officers and some members of the public before scaling a precast wall dividing the courtyard and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority premises.
He ran across Livingstone Way which leads into the Central Business District and scaled a perimeter fence on an open ground between police and OK supermarket.
He scaled another fence at the other end of the open space but ran out of luck as officers managed to apprehend him with the help of some members of the public who had joined in the chase.
ZPCS Matabeleland North provincial public relations officer, Principal Correctional Officer Bothwell Bosha confirmed the incident.
“I confirm that he escaped from the courtroom and was later caught by officers. They chased after him as he scaled precast walls and caught him with the help of members of the public. We commend our officers for being able to catch somebody who just stormed out of the courtroom. It shows they were very alert,” he said.
The boy was in handcuffs yesterday as he sat in the makeshift Victoria Falls prison housed at the magistrates’ courts.
This is not the first time an inmate has escaped from Victoria Falls prison. Last year in April Noel Mwembe, now 34, who was serving a 15-month jail term for disposing toxic substances into the environment, escaped while he and other inmates were working at a nearby CHOGM Park and disappeared.
He had told prison officers that he wanted to relieve himself when he disappeared into the bush.
In 2017, a self-proclaimed prophet who doubled as a tsikamutanda, Jabulani Nyoni escaped from the same prison.
He was arrested a few days later and claimed he had bribed a prison officer who assisted him to escape. Nyoni was transferred to Khami Maximum Prison outside Bulawayo. In 2018, another self-proclaimed inyanga Masimpe Muleya escaped from Hwange Prison with Maxwell Musariri, a constable who had been arrested for breaking into colleagues’ houses.
The two used a piece of steel from a combat boot to drill a hole on the wooden section of the prison cell wall before escaping. Both were re-arrested and transferred to Khami.