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Accomplices in Bester escape charged, case postponed

By Ntombi Mhlongo

Dr. Nandipha Magudumana’s father and a former G4S employee have been charged concerning the prison escape of South African fugitive Thabo Bester.

The duo, according to eNCA, had their case postponed to next Monday. Zolile Sekeleni and Senohe Matsoaro have been charged with murder, fraud, and defeating the ends of justice.

The 65-year-old Sekeleni is Magudumana’s father, while the 38-year-old Matsoara is a former G4S employee. G4S is the security company that managed the Mangaung Prison facility where Bester escaped from.

The duo was charged after they appeared before the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. Bester, Magudumana, and a Mozambican national were arrested in Tanzania at the weekend and this was announced by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in a press statement issued on Monday.

Bester made a daring escape from the Maximum Prison in Mangaung in 2022 when he allegedly ‘burnt beyond recognition’ in his solitary cell. The body was then claimed by his girlfriend Dr Nandipha Magudumana.

He enjoyed life on the outside until he was recently spotted at a shopping centre in Johannesburg accompanied by Magudumana. After that, the couple went on the run and was arrested on Saturday in Tanzania as they tried to cross to Kenya.

Fugitive Thabo Bester and his girlfriend Dr Nandipha Magudumana.
Fugitive Thabo Bester and his girlfriend Dr Nandipha Magudumana.

South African news site, IOL reported that Bester allegedly paid prison warders E5 million to secure his freedom. Investigations at the prison have hit numerous roadblocks with claims that the management of the centre is refusing to release footage of the escape.

Read More: Two more arrested in Thabo Bester case

IOL further reports that inmates who witness the escape wrote a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola but the G4S management failed to deliver the letter.

The former G4S employee was arrested at his residence in Bloemfontein on Saturday while Sekeleni was arrested on Friday at his home in Port Edward. It was reported that the delegation led by the SAPS’s Deputy National Commissioner responsible for Policing, Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili visited Arusha, Tanzania.

The team was set to engage with their Tanzanian counterparts to finalise all legal processes required towards bringing Bester and his accomplices to justice in South Africa.

National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Fannie Masemola welcomed the latest arrests and confirmed that the possibility of more could not be ruled out.

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