Magudumana fails to get court to declare her arrest in Tanzania unlawful

Nandipha Magudumana in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Nandipha Magudumana in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 5, 2023


Bloemfontein – Dr Nandipha Magudumana’s request for an urgent application to declare her arrest in Tanzania unlawful has been dismissed.

On Monday, Bloemfontein High Court Judge Phillip Loubser ruled her application was dismissed with costs.

Magudumana claimed she had been brought by South African authorities, who, according to her, colluded with their Tanzanian counterparts to bring her to South Africa, and in her view and that of the legal team who represented her, this was an extradition disguised as a deportation.

Magudumana was arrested in Arusha, Tanzania, with her boyfriend, convicted killer and rapist Thabo Bester, in April 2023.

Bester escaped from the Mangaung Correctional Facility in May 2022 after faking his death.

Loubser disagreed with Magudumana’s assertion. He said she had acquiesced to being transported to South Africa.

“I am dismissing this application with costs, including the cost of two council members who were so employed, who are respectively the first and third respondents,” said Loubser.

Reading his judgment regarding the validity of Magudumana’s arrest, Loubser said she did not meet the standards of an urgent application because she could have brought this application much earlier, from April 14 to May 19, 2023, but chose to wait. Nonetheless, he said, in the interest of justice it was incumbent upon him to entertain the matter, and so he was clear that the Tanzanian authorities had declared the two as prohibited immigrants in accordance with the Tanzanian laws.

Loubser said Magudumana’s evidence could not be relied upon because of the contradictions in her statements.

“But she then mentioned that, I quote, the agreement between Tanzanian authorities and the High Commission to deport them back to South Africa was reached at the premises of the High Commission. These two statements … contradict each other because it cannot be, on the one hand, that Tanzania had decided to deport them and, on the other hand, that there was an agreement between the two countries that they should be deported. She also does not inform us when this concluded or who was present when it was concluded.

“The result is that this court cannot rely on her evidence in this regard on the basis of the other affidavits by the respondent. The court has to accept that the decision to deport was taken by the Tanzanian authorities and nobody else,” said Loubser.

Poppy Bereng, the aunt of Katlego Bereng, whose charred body was found inside Bester’s cell in the Mangaung Correctional Facility, welcomed the judgment.

“I am very happy on behalf of the family for the judgment because, from the onset, the SAPS and the NPA's handling of this case shows that justice is prevailing. I believe that the State has a case; considering what transpired with Katlego’s body, she has a case to answer,” said Bereng.

The Star