Three G4S employees implicated in Thabo Bester escape saga to remain in custody

The suspects standing in the dock before the magistrate.

The three latest suspects to be added to the Thabo Bester case. Thabang Mier, Joel Makhetha, and Moeketsi Ramolula. Picture: screenshot/ SABC

Published Jun 28, 2023


Cape Town - The three latest suspects to be arrested in connection with the audacious Thabo Bester escape have been remanded in custody after making their first appearance in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

Bester faked his own death and escaped from the G4S operated Mangaung Correctional Centre in May last year.

He was re-arrested in April 2023 by Tanzanian authorities in Arusha after he fled the country with his lover, Dr Nandipha Magudumana.

The G4S employees, Joel Makhetha, Moeketsi Ramolula and Thabang Mier, were all arrested on Monday at their Bloemfontein and Botshabelo homes.

The latest arrests bring the number of people arrested in connection with Bester’s escape to 12, including Bester himself.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said one suspect was arrested at his home in Botshabelo, while the other two were arrested at their Bloemfontein homes.

In their brief appearance before the court, the state brought an application to join the matter with their co-accused - Thabo Bester, Dr Nandipha Magudumana and seven others.

The accused appeared in court with legal representatives ready to come on board, Ramolula had a representative from Legal Aid.

The defence counsels for the trio confirmed neither of their clients had any previous convictions nor did they have any pending matters before any court.

The State will oppose bail.

Mier faces charges of aiding an escape.

Ramolula and Makhetha face charges of violating a corpse and corruption. The State has declared the charges against them as Schedule 5 offences.

Addressing the suspects in the dock, Magistrate Motlholo Khabisi explained the application brought by the State and told the accused the order has been granted.

This means the trio will at a later stage join their co-accused Bester, Magudumana, 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 and suspended G4S employee Natassja Jansen.

The case against the three men has been postponed until Monday, July 3, for bail information.

Currently, Sekeleni and Jansen are out on R10,000 bail each.

Moyo and Magudumana allegedly purported that the unclaimed and unidentified body in the Bloemfontein mortuary was Moyo’s brother, Themba Ndlovu, who was later found to be Katlego Bereng.

Bereng’s body was used as a decoy in Bester’s escape from the prison in May last year. 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.

The other accused are all alleged to have played a pivotal role in Bester’s escape.

The group is expected back in court on August 8.

Police have not ruled out the possibility of more suspects being arrested.

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