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Facebook rapist Thabo Bester’s escape dubbed a ‘masterpiece’ by crime expert

Fugitive Thabo Bester. Photo Supplied

Fugitive Thabo Bester. Photo Supplied

Published Apr 12, 2023


Dr Nandipha Magudumana’s father and a former G4S employee who allegedly helped Facebook Rapist Thabo Bester escape from the Mangaung Correctional Centre have been charged with murder.

The two suspects have also been charged with arson, fraud and defeating the ends of justice over Bester’s May 2022 escape from the prison.

It is understood that the charge of murder relates to the death of the unknown man who was killed and placed in Cell 35 at the G4S-operated prison facility in Bloemfontein.

Police had initially charged both suspects with aiding and abetting a convicted prisoner to escape from lawful custody.

The charges were added after Senohe Ishmael Matsoara and Magudumana’s father, Zolile Cornelius Sekeleni, made their first appearance in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

Matsoara was arrested in Bloemfontein on Saturday, while Sekeleni was arrested on Friday in Port Edward.

Their matter was postponed to April 17 for a bail application.

Meanwhile, Bester and his fugitive girlfriend were also arrested in Arusha, Tamzania, on Friday night. It is believed that the suspects attempted to resist arrest.

The pair were nabbed by Tanzanian police and Interpol, Police Minister Bheki Cele confirmed on Saturday.

Magudumana and Bester are expected to be deported back to South Africa this week.

In May last year, Bester escaped from the prison, which is being run by G4S, after he faked his own fiery death.

It has since been established that Bester, together with prison officials, executed his elaborate jailbreak, where they swopped his body with that of another unknown person in Cell 35 at the Bloemfontein facility.

The identity of the burnt remains found in the cell remains unknown, but a post mortem has confirmed that the person was killed by blunt force trauma to the head.

Crime expert, Professor Kholofelo Rakubu, says it is important to move away from referring to this as a prison escape and to call it a “walkout” by Bester.

“As revelations came forth, we realised that Bester did not escape, he walked out because there are people mandated to make sure that the gates are locked.

“How many gates was he supposed to pass before escaping; where did he break before we can say ‘escape’? This was a walkout,” said Rakubu.

She said the country is not even sure when Bester walked out, saying it might not even have been in May last year but before that.

“In truth, Bester could have been out way before May or might have had access to communities, it's just that now they need to come out with a concrete story,” she said.

Rakubu also touched on the matter of Bester’s safety.

“For Bester to come to South Africa, first things first, he needs to be safe. This whole saga implicates many people. Should he depart, we are going to lose what really transpired,” said Rakubu.

She said the safety of Magudumana should also be taken into consideration.

Rakubu said the fact that Bester and his accomplices crossed borders from South Africa to Tanzania, exposes South Africa’s challenge with issues of territorial integrity.

The Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) said it noted numerous media reports regarding various allegations that have been levelled against Dr Nandipha Magudumana.

The regulator for the healthcare professions said it will institute its own investigation into the matter.

“The HPCSA will work collectively with relevant stakeholders within the government, which includes the SAPS and the Department of Health, at both provincial and national level, the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Correctional Services to ensure that the investigation process is comprehensive,” said HPCSA spokesperson Christopher Tsatsawane.

The Star