The police said the two prisoners escaped on Tuesday morning and no valid explanation of how they escaped has been given .

The two, Johannes Khoza, 30, and Esho Naibe, 24, both from Zimbabwe, were convicted of different crimes ranging from murder, rape, robbery and housebreaking to indecent assault.

Makhado police spokesperson Captain Maano Sadike said they had launched a manhunt while investigating the escape of the two prisoners .

Khoza was convicted of murder and robbery in April 2006, while Naibe was serving a jail term for rape, housebreaking and indecent assault.

It is alleged that the two used a saw to cut through the burglar bars and escape through the electric and barbed wire fence.

The prison authorities said they suspected the escapees used a saw but also indicated they were still waiting for the surveillance report from camera operators.

Head of prison security Nyiko Mathebula denied allegations that the security system in the prison was weak since they failed to detect the escape.

“We hope the report will detail what really happened ,” he said.

The police said their manhunt was still under way and they appealed to those who know the suspects to help them.