Free State police are seeking public help in identifying a man whose body was meant to be used in Thabo Bester’s escape.
The police said the unknown body was found dumped in the Modder River, near Bloemfontein, in April 2022.
Free State police spokesperson, Brigadier Motantsi Makhele, said the body had initially been found in Lovedale Road, Bloemfontein after the unknown victim was killed in a hit-and-run accident on October 9, 2021.
“The body was then claimed by one of the suspects in the Thabo Bester Escape case at the Bloemfontein Government Mortuary. It was found again on 28 April, 2022 in the Modder River,” he said.
Makhele said anyone with information that can assist in identifying the deceased or tracing the next of kin can contact Colonel Ben Bolsiek at 082 466 8530.
Bester, a convicted rapist and killer, was serving a life sentence in the Mangaung Correctional Centre when he made a daring escape by faking his own death in May 2022.
He lived in various properties with his lover, Dr Nandipha Magudumana, and was seen shopping at a Sandton supermarket in June 2022.
Initially, the Department of Correctional Services denied that Bester was alive.
After months on the run, Bester fled South Africa and was eventually arrested in Arusha, Tanzania, with his girlfriend, Dr Nandipha Magudumana in April.
Twelve people have since been arrested in connection with Bester’s escape, including Bester himself.
The ninth suspect in the matter, Zimbabwean national, Zanda Moyo, allegedly went to the morgue with Magudumana and they claimed an unidentified body, saying it was Moyo’s brother, Themba Ndlovu, however, it was later discovered that it was Katlego Bereng.
Bereng’s body’s was used as a decoy in Bester’s escape.
His charred remains were found in Bester’s prison cell. At the time, it was believed that Bester committed suicide.
Bereng’s identity was confirmed through a DNA match with his mother.
According to his family, he disappeared around March 2022 and was reported as a missing person.