Did Dr Nandipha Magudumana ‘hitch a ride’ from Tanzania or was she unlawfully arrested and deported? Judgment expected on Monday

Nandipha Magudumana. File picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Nandipha Magudumana. File picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 2, 2023


Pretoria – Judgment on Dr Nandipha Magudumana’s urgent high court application to have her deportation from Tanzania declared unlawful is expected on Monday.

Arguments were on Thursday delivered before Judge Philip Loubser at the Bloemfontein High Court.

The court heard from an advocate representing the police, how Magudumana hitched a ride back to South Africa from Tanzania because she told officials that she wanted to come back home for her children.

Advocate Neil Snellenburg, who was representing the SAPS, told the court that at no point did Magudumana refuse to get onto private jet that had been chartered to ensure she and Facebook rapist Thabo Bester return to the country.

The high court court is hearing an urgent application brought by Magudumana, who is arguing that the process to bring her back to the country was unlawful.

Magudumana was arrested in Tanzania in April, alongside her fugitive boyfriend, Bester.

Instead of applying for bail, Magudumana brought an urgent application challenging her arrest, saying it was unlawful and that she was held against her will.

According to Snellenburg, Magudumana told officials while in Tanzania that she wanted to come home to her children, but failed to mention that on her affidavit.

“At no time at all did Magudumana object to getting on the plane. That supports that she wanted to come home to her children.”

“Are you implying she wanted to hitch a ride?” asked Judge Phillip Loubser

“Yes, she wanted to come back to South Africa,” Snellenburg replied.

Magudumana’s legal representative, advocate Anton Katz asked whether SA officials complied with the law and if there was justification for their actions.

He said the manner in which Magudumana was arrested was a disguised extradition.

“No official in SA may take any action unless there’s a provision in the Constitution to give them that power.

“This was an extradition disguised as a deportation. There was collusion between SA and Tanzanian officials. They say it was an agreement between them ... The facts demonstrate that this was an extradition. That’s our case, nobody can get away from that. SAPS had a team deployed to negotiate in Tanzania,’’ he argued.

Snellenburg said there was no evidence that the two state agencies (SAPS and the Department of Home Affairs) are guilty of any unlawful conduct.

Snellenburg also added that Magudumana’s application does not meet the requirements for an urgent application.

“She had ample (time) to bring this application and hasn’t told the court why this matter is actually urgent ...This is an abuse of process,” he said.

Advocate Petrus Zietsman, who was representing the Department of Home Affairs, referred to a notice from the Tanzanian government where Magudumana and Bester were declared to be in the country illegally and the government wanted them out of the country within three days.

“There is nothing sinister that there is co-operation between SA and Tanzania governments. So, the agreement between the two governments to deport doesn’t make it a disguised extradition.

“The actions of Home Affairs were not unlawful ... the decision to deport and the destination was made by Tanzanian authorities.

“Let’s say Magudumana wants to challenge her arrest by Tanzanian authorities. If we take that argument, this court doesn’t have jurisdiction to rule on Tanzanian laws,’’ Zietsman argued.

Judge Loubser said he will make a ruling on Magudumana’s application on Monday.