Judge Edwin Cameron has singled out two police officers in Bloemfontein who smelt a rat when Dr Nandipha Magudumana started collecting bodies and claiming them.
This triggered them to start acting against Magudumana to stop her actions and oppose her application in the North Gauteng High Court to claim the body of a person put in a cell as that of Thabo Bester.
Cameron told the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional services on Thursday that this crucial information from the two SAPS members was like gold to them.
He said the Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons was doing an investigation into Bester’s escape when they came across this information.
The escape had raised alarm bells from some of the investigators from the judicial inspectorate.
But the action of the two officers in Bloemfontein provided them with invaluable information.
He said when Bester escaped in May, there were efforts to dig up what had happened.
The efforts of the SAPS members, a Constable Lekgoa in Bloemfontein, and a senior official in the police provincial legal services unit, Brigadier Ramorena Tsoai, had lifted the lid on the elaborate execution of the escape.
Cameron also said the inspectorate wanted the matter to be investigated as speedily as possible.
“There are heroes in the story, and two of them are in the SAPS. The first is a Constable Lekgoa. Constable Lekgoa was in the Naval Hill police station when he noticed that Dr Nandipha Magudumana had persistently been coming to claim corpses, and he put a stop. That triggered (Magudumana’s) urgent application. She didn’t bring it to Bloemfontein, where the death occurred. She brought it to the North Gauteng High Court (in Pretoria). A brigadier (Tsoai) in charge of legal services in Bloemfontein, I got an SMS in the afternoon in Bloemfontein. She said, what is this about and she intervened. She urgently contacted the State Attorney in Pretoria, got a notice of opposition put in and that answering affidavit, which was lodged in August, opening up matters for the judicial inspectorate as well,” said Cameron.
She said they did not know about Magudumana’s court action in Pretoria after she left Bloemfontein when questions were raised about the bodies she was claiming.
It was that damning affidavit by Tsoai that raised alarm bells about Magudumana’s plan to get the body and bury it.