Nandipha Magudumana bail decision expected next Monday as State says she has no regard for the law

The Nandipha Magudumana bail decision will be delivered next Monday. Picture: Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

The Nandipha Magudumana bail decision will be delivered next Monday. Picture: Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

Published Sep 4, 2023


The Nandipha Magudumana bail decision is expected to be delivered next Monday, the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court heard.

The court heard on Monday how Magudumana had contradicted herself in her bail application, claiming she was kidnapped out of the country, but she had also approached the Free State High Court and subsequently the Supreme Court of Appeal to question how she was deported from Tanzania back into South Africa.

Magudumana’s bail application required a third sitting on Monday after it sat for two days last week, but more time was required, as both the State and the defence had yet to complete their submissions before court.

She was arrested in April, along with her convicted murderer boyfriend, Thabo Bester, who is also known as the Facebook rapist. Bester had been serving a life sentence for rape and murder.

Bester, with the help of at least 12 people, including Magudumana and former G4S employees, escaped from the privately run Mangaung Correctional Centre in May last year after he managed to fake his own fiery death. She is facing multiple charges of fraud, violating a body, corruption, arson, assisting an inmate to escape, harbouring and concealing an escaped prisoner, and defeating the ends of justice.

State Prosecutor advocate Sello Matlhoko outlined the contradictions in Magudumana’s case on Monday and reminded the court that she was facing Schedule 5 offence charges and that it was the burden of the defence to show cause why she should be granted bail.

"They have been saying the State has failed to prove this and that. What does our law say?

"Schedule 5 says where an accused is charged, the court shall order they be detained unless the accused, having been given a reasonable opportunity to do so, adduces evidence which satisfies his or her release. The duty is on the applicant to adduce evidence," said Matlhoko.

Matlhoko also sought to nullify Magudumana’s ploy, that she had been kidnapped and forced into a car with Bester, and that she had no intention or will to leave the country.

"Every aspect mentioned by the Investigating Officer (Colonel Tieho Flyman) the court has been asked, where is truth, where is the evidence … (She) booked, and the IO has obtained confirmation of a boutique hotel at the time Bester escaped; this is the same person who kidnapped and took her to Tanzania against her will," said Matlhoko.

Matlhoko said Magudumana had not given the court any details about her supposed kidnapping.

"We do not know where and why she got kidnapped ... The IO says which they (the defence) are not saying, she did not use a passport to get into another country.

"It has not been said which border they crossed, yet they are the ones who say this is how I found myself in Tanzania," said Matlhoko.

Matlhoko questioned why Magudumana had not opened a case with the police after over four months, with her defence saying it was her "choice" and "prerogative" to decide for or against opening a case against Bester.

"Bester took her away from her two children, denying her parental supervision; he takes her away from her medical clinic; he takes her away from her parents and siblings; and now she finds herself arrested and applying for bail because of the actions of this person, and you choose not to open a criminal case.

"This is what Bester did to her, but she did not open a case. She has been in this court smiling with the same person who kidnapped her.

"She has been taken unlawfully, by force, and forced into a car in Tanzania. Yet she goes and challenges in court how she was brought back from Tanzania, where she did not want to be.

"This means she is saying, Allow me to remain in Tanzania. That is what this means. And we are told she has no desire to leave SA and evade trial," said Matlhoko.

The State also questioned why Magudumana was opting to stay with her friend, Dr Michelle Chibaya, a naturalised South African with Zimbabwean roots, if she was to be granted bail.

"Why would you choose to stay with a friend and not your parents, not your siblings? The IO says I have established that this is the nationality of this person.

"The IO does not make judgement on this aspect; he says it is concerning. Yet he is accused of being xenophobic.

"The fact that she provides an alternative address means she does not have a fixed address," said Matlhoko.

Matlhoko also said Magudumana had demonstrated that she had no regard for the law after she deceived the High Court in Pretoria and said she was married to Bester, when she was still married to her husband.

Matlhoko said she had also deceived the court, saying Bester's mother was dead and that she had claimed the body of another man as her father.

"Can this court really trust and conclude the applicant will stand trial, having gone to a high court claiming a body be that of someone who is alive? It is accused five, Bester.

"She has also claimed a body, saying it was her father. We know that accused two is her father. He is alive," said Matlhoko.

"She goes further than that ... She claimed her father negotiated lobola of R60,000 and claimed David Magagula (Bester's uncle) was deceased. "We have established from one Klaas Magagula that there has never been a David Magagula.

"The role played shows she has no respect for the criminal justice system. It is her demonstration of her disregard for the law.

"The fact that her co-accused have been released is based on their roles and their personal circumstances. Her personal circumstances and her role are not the same. The court must apply its mind," said Matlhoko.

Earlier, IOL reported that Magudumana was willing to pay R10,000 in bail if it were granted.

Magudumana was captured sharing a light moment with her father, Zolile Sekeleni, who embraced her in front of media cameras.

Magudumana's family, which included her brothers and sisters, were also in court.

The State has portrayed her as a married woman who was a criminal mastermind in Bester’s daring escaped and who deserted her two children to flee with her lover.

Bail judgment is expected next Monday.

Other accused in the Bester matter are former G4S prison warder Senohe Matsoara, Zanda Moyo, Zolile Cornelius Sekeleni, former Integritron Integrated Solutions camera technician Teboho Lipholo, suspended G4S employee Tieho Frans Makhotsa, former G4S guard Buti Masukela, suspended G4S employee Natassja Jansen and G4S employees, Joel Makhetha, Moeketsi Ramolula and Thabang Mier, who were all granted bail.