Pretoria - Dr Nandipha Magudumana and her co-accused, who include now former G4S prison wardens, will have to wait until next week before their applications to be released on bail will be heard.
The Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court yesterday postponed their bail hearing to May 11 and 12.
This followed the State adding two more accused, who were allegedly involved in the daring prison escape of Facebook killer and rapist, Thabo Bester.
Tieho Makhotsa and Anastassja Jansen, also now former G4S employees, were arrested on Monday. The two are believed to have worked at the Mangaung Correctional Centre’s control room.
Magudumana, Makhotsa and Jansen appeared alongside fellow accused Senohe Matsoara, Integritron CCTV technician Tebogo James Lipholo, and Buty Masemola. The appearance of the six yesterday marked exactly a year since Bester’s escape from prison.
While prosecutor Sello Matlhoko said he was ready to proceed with most of the bail applications, the State still had to verify some information regarding Makhotsa and Jansen. Their legal representatives also had to prepare for their bail applications as yesterday was their first appearance.
Some of the accused, including Magudumana, had also terminated the services of their defence counsel and new legal representatives had to take over.
All the defence lawyers, however, told magistrate Motlholo Khabisi that they were ready to proceed with the bail applications as soon as possible, as the liberty of their clients was at stake and as it was an urgent matter.
The prosecution suggested that the bail hearings take place on May 11 and 12, as he was not available on May 10.
The defence lawyers objected to only two days having been allocated for the bail applications, as they all agreed that there were a lot of accused and it would take much longer for each of them to present their cases and for the prosecution to present its objections to bail being granted.
Some of the defence lawyers said it was possible that the bail hearings could even last up to five days. They also expressed their fear that the bail proceedings could be further delayed if more arrests were made in the case, and more accused added.
Motlholo, however, gave the court the assurance that even if more accused were added, the bail hearing of the six accused would go ahead next week. He said while it was not clear how long the bail hearings would take, there could be a possibility that plans would have to be made for further dates.
Thabo Bester and Magudumana’s father, Zolile Sekeleni, who was earlier granted R10 000 bail, are expected back in court on May 16.
Magudumana meanwhile appeared in court for the first time yesterday without her face mask and sported a new hairdo. As she entered the dock of the packed courtroom, she waved and blew kisses to some of her family. She also has a slight smile on her face at times while the media took pictures of her in the dock, alongside her co-accused.
While the charge sheet is said to list a total of 16 charges against all eight accused arrested so far, only some of the charges relate to certain of the accused.