Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has revealed that although they had no record of Thabo Bester’s ID as he had never been issued with one, he was born at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto and his mother never registered his birth.
Motsoaledi said Bester, who was born June 13, 1986, was the oldest of four children that his mother Maria Mabaso had, but she never registered Thabo Bester’s birth with home affairs.
She was 16 when she gave birth to Bester.
Motsoaledi said their investigations found that Bester had attended school in the south of Johannesburg in 1997 but dropped out of school in Grade 5 in 2002.
Motsoaledi, who was briefing the media on Friday, said they would have to consult with lawyers about whether they can force Bester to take an ID.
He said Bester could be issued with an ID by next week.
But he said there were many prisoners who were in custody without IDs to avoid being detected for their alleged involvement in crimes.
Police Minister Bheki Cele told Parliament on Thursday that Bester was identified through his fingerprints which were stored in the SAPS criminal database after he was arrested and sentenced for rape and murder in 2012.
It also emerged from Cele and senior police officials that Bester was on parole for fraud when he was arrested for rape and murder in 2012.
Motsoaledi said the issue of Bester not having an ID emanates from the fact that he never went to home affairs to take one.
Motsoaledi said even Bester’s mother only applied for an ID at the age of 37, in 2002.
Motsoaledi said when they visited Bester’s mother recently, they discovered that she had registered him with her mother’s surname, Bester, when he was born at Chris Hani Baragwanath.
Bester’s grandmother, Johanna Bester, was born in the 1930s. She died in 2002.
When Bester’s mother went to take her own ID, she had to take her late mother’s sister to home affairs, and she used her surname of Mabaso.
Bester’s three siblings all use the surname of Mabaso as well. He had fled home by the time the issue of IDs and birth certificates was being resolved in their family.
Motsoaledi also said they have to annul the death certificate of a body that was found in Mangaung prison in May when Bester escaped.
“The body that was found in that cell burnt was issued a death certificate, and home affairs issued a death certificate on the strength of a form called DHA 1663.
“This is a form that doctors must fill. No home affairs official can ever issue a death certificate without a doctor certifying you dead because how do we know. The doctor must fill that DHA 1663 and say this person has died.
‘’Now that home affairs has received such a document from a pathologist who conducted a post-mortem, and says you must issue a death certificate. But as you will expect that body, which was there because they thought that it was Bester the death certificate was issued in the name of Bester.
“That’s the certificate home affairs issued. But there was no ID because Bester himself never took an ID,” said Motsoaledi.
“Now that we know that Bester is alive, home affairs have to go and annul that death certificate. It has got no use.
“But we don’t know where it was used because as we heard from the police, the bodies that Dr Nandipha (Magudumana) was stealing.
“She buried mealie mealies and wors, and all of that instead of those bodies,” said Motsoaledi.