Limpopo Police have confirmed that a wanted fugitive who escaped from Kgoshi Mampuru Prison in Pretoria has been arrested in Modimolle. Muyambo Zacharia Thabo, also known as Thomas Chauke escaped in December 2020, where he was serving a life sentence for rape, kidnapping, and robbery.

He was arrested along with Simon Mlambo following a tip-off received by the Endangered Species Unit on 14 March 2024. This is after a suspicious white VW Tiguan was spotted near Rhino farms in Mookgophong.

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Acting swiftly on the information provided, the police located the vehicle on the R101 at Modimolle around 09h00. Upon approaching the vehicle, which had two occupants including the driver, a search was conducted. Subsequently, a hunting rifle with 10 rounds of ammunition was discovered concealed in the vehicle, leading to the immediate apprehension of the two suspects for possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

Further investigations have revealed alarming details about one of the suspects who identified himself as Thomas Chauke. The suspect, whose real name is Muyambo Zacharia Thabo, is a wanted escaped prisoner with a history of criminal activities, who escaped from Kgoshi Mampuru Prison on 9 December 2020.

Wanted fugitive arrested in Modimolle
Ammunition found with the wanted fugitive


In a disturbing pattern of criminal behaviour, Thabo was previously arrested in October 2021 in Nietverdiend, North West Province, for his involvement in Rhino poaching. However, he managed to escape custody while being transported to court. Subsequently, in May 2023, Thabo was once again apprehended for possession of an unlicensed firearm in Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal province. Only to escape during his court appearance.

The Provincial Commissioner of Limpopo SAPS, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe, has expressed satisfaction with the arrest of Muyambo Zacharia Thabo. She has commended the diligent efforts of the Police in responding swiftly to the leads provided.

The two are set to appear before the Modimolle Magistrate’s Court on 25 March. They are charged with possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. Muyambo Zacharia Thabo will soon face multiple charges in different Magistrate’s Courts as the legal process unfolds.