Home Affairs Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has insisted that Thabo Bester does not have an ID, and never had one as he was not on the department’s systems.
Motsoaledi said they would also not give an answer as to how many prisoners did not have IDs in correctional centres across the country. That was in the purview of the Department of Correctional Services.
Motsoaledi was replying to a written parliamentary question from EFF MP Vuyani Pambo who wanted to know why Bester did not have an ID.
Pambo also wanted to know from Motsoaledi why Bester was allowed to stay in prison for many years without being in possession of an identity document.
“Thabo Bester does not have an identity document – at least not one issued by the Department of Home Affairs. The question should be referred to the Department of Correctional Services,” said Motsoaledi.
The minister also told Pambo that he did not know the number of prisoners who did not have identity documents.
“The department does not do any audit of inmates at Correctional Services facilities. We expect the department to approach us if there are any issues of identity to be dealt with,” said Motsoaledi.
When Bester was arrested with Dr Nandipha Magudumana, Police Minister Bheki Cele said there were thousands of prisoners who did not have identity documents.
Motsoaledi said they were willing to give Bester an ID if they were approached by the Department of Correctional Services.
He also said Bester’s mother, Maria Meisie Mabaso, did not have an ID until 2002 when she went to Home Affairs with her three children to be registered.
Bester was not part of the family members as he had already left home at the time.