Thabo Bester: Nandipha Magudumana and three suspects back in court

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Four suspects linked to the audacious prison break of convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester are expected to apply for bail at the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Monday morning.

Besters ‘customary wife,’ disgraced doctor Nandipha Magudumana are among the accused due in the dock.

Father, daughter and accomplices
One of the suspects is Magudumana’s father and a former G4S employee Zolile Sekeleni.

Sekeleni, together with another co-accused, a former G4S co-worker, Senohe Matsoara, appeared in court briefly last Tuesday on charges of assisting an inmate to escape from lawful custody, defeating the ends of justice, fraud, murder and arson.

The forth suspect is a 44-year-old employee, Teboho Lipholo, contracted to Integritron Integrated Solutions, a company that installs CCTV cameras at the Mangaung Correctional Centre (MCC).

The camera’s were switched off at the time of Bester’s prison walk out.

Magudumana is believed to have went through extraordinary lengths, including stealing dead bodies as part of one of South Africa’s most brazen prison breaks, which took place in May last year.

On the run
The so-called lovers have been on the run since photos of Bester and Magudumana shopping for free range chicken in an upmarket Joburg Woolworths, surfaced online earlier this year.

They were later apprehended in Arusha, Tanzania last Wednesday and were extradited to South Africa on a private jet on Thursday morning to stand trial.

The Citizen revealed that Magudumana initially told Tanzanian authorities that she was being held against her will by convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester after they were nabbed.

Police, prison bosses and judicial inspectorate under fire
Last week, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional services heard shocking revelations on how the ‘Facebook rapist’ was able to walk out of one of the country’s most heavily guarded prisons, which is run by British security company G4S, in May after faking his own death in a fire.

Prison bosses, police leadership and Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) came under fire for covering up the escape and failing to inform Bester’s victims that he had escaped from jail.

Bester easting his food
Meanwhile, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) confirmed that Bester has not been returned to the Manguang Correctional Centre and is eating his food despite him telling the Bloemfontein Magistrates court there were threats on his life.

DCS spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said the Department of Correctional Services has noted the “false information” circulating on various platforms.

“We can state that Bester was transported to Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional facility.

“In addition, DCS can confirm that there is no complaint filed about threats to his life and that offender Bester is taking meals,” Nxumalo said.

Additional reporting by GroundUp, Thapelo Lekabe and Narissa Subramoney

Faizel Patel/ The Citizen