Pretoria - There is nothing untoward about Dr Nandipha Magudumana being unchained when she was transported by a police van, only for her to appear in court moments later with shackles, the SA Police Service said.
This comes after Independent Media’s Mzilikazi Wa Afrika published a video on Twitter of the controversial doctor walking out of a police van unchained, but she was shackled when she appeared in court.
The video has received mixed reactions on social media with some saying the celebrity doctor was getting preferential treatment.
Speaking to IOL on Wednesday night, SAPS national spokesperson, Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, denied there was any preferential treatment for Magudumana, saying that she was being treated like any other suspect who faces serious criminal charges.
“Given the suspect’s profile, she is escorted at all times when attending court by highly trained and skilled members who only respond to medium and high-risk incidents,” Mathe said.
“As is seen in the video, she is being escorted closely by a TRT female member.”
Mathe said according to SAPS policy, a person in custody must not be handcuffed or have legs chains in the back of a patrol van as they may be injured during transportation.
“SAPS vans are equipped with a secure canopy at the back to accommodate persons in custody. The canopy is equipped with padlocks and is at all times locked with the padlock when persons of high risk profiles are being transported,” Mathe said.
“Our vans are thoroughly searched before a person in custody is transported. The search focuses on removing unwanted objects or instruments which can cause a person to harm himself/herself or escape.”
She said leg chains are put on as soon as the suspect enters court.
“The leg chains are put on to ensure the flight risk suspect does not escape from lawful custody,” Mathe added.
STAGED: Dear @SAPoliceService you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time #DrNandiphaMagudumana pic.twitter.com/Cxaf2KFQty— Mzilikazi wa Afrika (@IamMzilikazi) June 21, 2023
Magudumana appeared at the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday alongside rapist and murderer, Thabo Bester and co-accused.
The group are embroiled in the elaborate prison break of Bester in May 2022.
Last week, the latest and ninth suspect to be arrested in the matter appeared in court.
The court further heard the ninth suspect arrested in the matter, Zimbabwean national Zanda Moyo would not be applying for bail yet. It was revealed he had a previous arrest.
Moyo is alleged to have been Magudumana’s driver and was complicit in crime.
Moyo and Magudumana 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.
Magudumana, appeared alongside her co-accused Moyo, her father, Zolile Cornelius Sekeleni, G4S prison warder Senohe Matsoara, 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.
Jansen and Sekeleni are out on R10,000 bail each.
The other accused in the matter remain in custody.
Three more suspects are expected to be arrested in this matter.
The matter has been postponed until August 8, for further investigation.