Wits, prison romance, lobola … The wild claims about Thabo Bester and Nandipha Magudumana’s relationship laid bare in court

Thabo Bester and Dr Nandipha Magudumana. Nandipha Magudumana is trying to secure bail in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court, but a top cop is opposing it. File picture: screenshot/SABC

Thabo Bester and Dr Nandipha Magudumana. Nandipha Magudumana is trying to secure bail in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court, but a top cop is opposing it. File picture: screenshot/SABC

Published Aug 30, 2023


Dr Nandipha Magudumana was a married woman with two young children, who deserted her kids and eloped with her lover, illegally crossing borders more than 3,400 kilometres away with convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester.

This was how the SA Police Service’s Lieutenant Colonel Tieho Flyman described Magudumana in his lengthy affidavit opposing Magudumana’s bail application in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court.

Flyman is an investigating officer attached to the Free State Organised Crime division in Bloemfontein.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is relying heavily on his affidavit in its bid to deny Magudumana bail.

Magudumana had claimed in her affidavit that Bester had kidnapped and threatened her, forcing her to flee with him before their Tanzania capture.

Flyman rejected this, saying Magudumana was a willing participant who had chosen to desert her husband and two children, in order to be with her lover Bester in their daring escape.

Flyman has argued strongly against Magudumana being granted bail.

The bail application is expected to continue on Wednesday, but the police officer offered the court insights into the relationship dynamics of Bester and Magudumana.

Last week, the handcuffed lovebirds, Magudumana and Bester, met in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court for the first time since their arrest four months ago. Media cameras captured the shackled Magudumana rather smitten as they held hands, smiled at each other and chatted in the court dock.

Flyman also pointed to this, admitting into evidence media articles as exhibits, dismissing claims that Magudumana may have been kidnapped by Bester.


The police officer told the court that his investigation found that Magudumana and Bester first met on the corridors of the University of the Witwatersrand 17 years ago in 2006, where Magudumana was a medical student.

Bester, who is understood to have Grade 4 schooling, feigned his way as a theology student on campus.

Bester was convicted of rape and murder in 2012, and after many years apart, they started dating in May 2017 while Bester was behind bars at the G4S-run Mangaung Correctional Centre.

Magudumana was married to her paediatrician husband, Dr Mkhuseli Magudumana at the same time.


Flyman also told the court that the Magudumana’s two young children were being taken care of by Dr Mkhuseli Magudumana, since Nandipha “deserted” them and “eloped” with Bester in March.

“(Nandipha) Magudumana is married with two minor school going children who are staying with the father. She deserted the children since March when she decided to elope with Bester while a married woman,” said Flyman in court.

He also told the court that Dr Mkhuseli Magudumana had never once visited her in the four months she has been at the Kroonstad Correctional Centre, and that there had only been one phone call between them in that time.

He said she used her phone calls on friends and contacting her legal team.

She told the court she was separated from her husband.


The court also heard how Nandipha Magudumana, who is still married to Dr Mkhuseli Magudumana, had tried to claim before the High Court in Johannesburg in May last year that she was Bester’s customary wife.

She had made the claim in an attempt to gain access to the body of Katlego Bereng. Bereng was the man whose body was burnt in Cell 35.

At the time of the urgent court application, the body burnt in Cell 35 was thought to be that of Bester, but police confiscated the body after an autopsy suspiciously showed no smoke inhalation, but the cause of death was blunt force head trauma.

In her bid to cover up the body swap at Cell 35, Nandipha Magudumana — supported by an affidavit from her father, Zolile Sekeleni — said Bester had paid R60,000 in lobola for her in December 2020.

Flyman said that Sekeleni submitted an affidavit saying Bester’s uncle, a David Magagula, had facilitated the customary lobola process and submitted evidence in the form of signed notes.

This David Magagula subsequently died, they claimed in their doomed application, but Flyman told the court that there was no such person, but the only uncle Bester had was Claasen Magagula, who was alive and well.

The urgent court application matter was subsequently settled in April, where it was dismissed and costs were awarded against Magudumana.


Flyman said it would be a travesty of justice to allow bail for Magudumana, who had evaded police for 11 months and tried to use the courts in her bid to cover up the Bester escape plot.

Magudumana has everything to lose by remaining in the country as there are further criminal cases against her,” said Flyman.

“Bail conditions would not prevent her from fleeing the country. She has evaded police for 11 months. She has no respect for the law and she has even used the legal system to try and get hold of the body.”

Magudumana said she would reside in Douglasdale with her friend, Michelle Chibaya, a naturalised Zimbabwean citizen.

Flyman said Magudumana had strong links in Zimbabwe, as one of her gardeners-cum-security guard, was from Zimbabwe as well.

She also had a black rented Mercedes-Benz deserted in that country, which is yet to be returned.

One of the accused was also a Zimbabwean national and had allegedly assisted both Bester and Magudumana in their alleged crimes.

Flyman said Magudumana had demonstrated an ability to evade authorities and releasing her on bail would be against the spirit of the criminal justice system.

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 granted bail of R10,000.

The bail application is expected to continue on Wednesday.