Prison warder informed deputy minister about Facebook rapist Thabo Bester’s prison escape - report

Thabo Bester

Thabo Bester

Published Mar 22, 2023


Pretoria – The story behind the death of Facebook rapist Thabo Bester, who is believed to be actually alive, keeps getting stranger than fiction as the latest reports indicate that a prison warder allegedly notified an official that the convicted murder’s death was staged.

In a recent report by GroundUp, it is reported that on 11 June 2022, a prison warder at Mangaung Correctional Centre sent an email to the Deputy Minister of Correctional Services Phathekile Holomisa, asking him if he was aware that Bester was assisted to escape from the prison facility which is run by G4S and the department in a public-private partnership.

“Are you aware that the inmate who was ‘allegedly’ burnt to death at Mangaung Correctional Centre was supposedly assisted to escape by the Mangaung Correctional Centre and Department of Correctional Services officials at the prison?” read the email.

According to GroundUp, the warder sent a follow-up email to Holomisa on 8 November, 2022.

“Good Day Sir, I informed you of the Thabo Bester escape (in) my previous email … your office & … the DCS (have) ignored my emails notifying you of this.”

It appears no action was taken regarding the email.

The warder told the publication that after reporting the alleged “cover up” was victimised and later transferred from the facility.

“It’s not the first incident that I’ve reported. I sent him (deputy minister) a number of emails about the gang stabbings, corruption and treatment of inmates.”

The warder added that it was an “open secret” that the body in Cell 35, was not that of Bester and “I informed the (deputy) minister … the way the whole (crime scene) thing was handled, no protocol was followed. There (were) too many red flags and we (colleagues) suspect this was an inside job from night shift (staff),” the warder told GroundUp.

The publication said it spoke to Justice Ministry spokesperson, Chrispin Phiri, who indicated that the deputy minister was unable to locate the emails in question, but they’re doing all they could to track them.

Meanwhile, Police Minister Bheki Cele conceded last week that the DNA test did not confirm that the person found in the cell was the same person.

Cele added that an investigation was under way following reports that Bester was still alive.

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) said its pressing the investigation team to conclude its work so that the findings could be made available.

“… Let us reiterate that the investigation on the death of Thabo Bester has not been concluded, and the autopsy report has not been tabled before the department," the department said in a statement.

In May 2022, the DCS confirmed that Bester was found dead in his cell at the Mangaung Correctional Centre.

The version was that Bester set himself alight in his cell.

However, last week, it was reported that Bester had been spotted in Sandton City two months after his prison cell fire “death”.

At least two women, one in Cape Town, and another in Joburg, said they had been in physical contact with a man resembling Bester.

The Cape Town woman said she had met him in the coastal city where he was apparently on vacation with two young women, thought to be in their early 20s.

The woman in Joburg, a dietitian by trade, said she met Bester at her office where he apparently tried to offer her an assortment of things, including TV deals and overseas trips. She said he left when he realised she was not buying the scam.