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Police still probing murder over body found in Thabo Bester’s cell

Katlego Bereng, who was buried two weeks ago after DNA results matched that of his body, had been missing since last May -- when Bester escaped -- until his burial.

Katlego Bereng’s body was used as a decoy to allow Thabo Bester to escape from prison.

Published May 23, 2023


Cape Town - Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola says the SAPS is still investigating the case of alleged murder in relation to the body of Katlego Bereng, which was found in Thabo Bester’s cell.

Lamola said the SAPS were the right body that could give more details on their investigation into this case.

After the fire at Mangaung Correctional Centre in May last year an inquest was conducted.

But the autopsy found that Bereng had suffered blunt force trauma to the back of the head.

It was also discovered that the body did not belong to Bester as had been initially believed after the incident.

Lamola, who was replying to written parliamentary questions from Janho Engelbrecht from the DA, said the SAPS were the right institution to give an update on the investigation into the matter.

“As per the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the scene was handed over to the SAPS for investigation in relation to the fire in the affected cell.

“It was based on the SAPS investigation by means of an autopsy that it was determined that the body found in the cell did not match that of offender Bester.

“The investigation also revealed that the individual suffered blunt force trauma and did not exhibit smoke inhalation.

“The matter is currently under investigation by the SAPS, therefore all further details in relation to the investigation should be directed to the SAPS,” said Lamola.

“The facts relating to allegations of murder fall outside the scope of DCS and as such should be directed to SAPS,” he said.

Asked on how Bester was able to con people when he was inside prison, Lamola said Bester had been given a laptop for his studies.

Bester was studying graphic design at Damelin College in Johannesburg.

“The offender had a laptop in his possession through which he was able to use social media platforms.

“Preliminary investigations have revealed that the offender gained access to a laptop after being granted permission to utilise it for educational purposes.

“Investigations further revealed that no monitoring was done to confirm whether the offender still required the laptop for his studies as per initial approval and whether the instrument was utilised for its intended purpose,” said Lamola.

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