Home South African Additional Thabo Bester jailbreak ‘accomplices’ to appear in court

Additional Thabo Bester jailbreak ‘accomplices’ to appear in court

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Bester was arrested with his alleged accomplice, Dr Nandipha Magudumana, and a Mozambican national in Tanzania on Friday night and the possibility of more arrests could not be ruled out, National Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola said.

Thabo Bester and Dr Nandipha Magudumana Picture: Se-Anne Rall

WHILE police deputy national commissioner, Lieutenant-General Tebello Mosikili is in Arusha, Tanzania, finalising legal processes for the deportation of prison escapee Thabo Bester and his accomplices, two additional suspects are also expected to make court appearances in Bloemfontein.

Bester was arrested with his alleged accomplice, Dr Nandipha Magudumana, and a Mozambican national in Tanzania on Friday night and the possibility of more arrests could not be ruled out, National Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola said.

This after Bester pulled off an elaborate prison escape, allegedly with the help of officials, where he faked his death in May last year, with the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) at the time reporting he had died by suicide after setting himself alight in his cell.

A case of murder is under investigation following the outcome of DNA analysis that confirmed the body of the deceased found in the cell was not Bester’s.

The autopsy report revealed that the deceased had died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, and was already dead, prior to the arson incident.

Bester also faces a charge of escaping from lawful custody.

Police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe on Monday said: “A 39–year-old former G4S employee and a 65-year-old man from Port Edward, in KZN are expected to appear before the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, following their arrest as investigations into the Thabo Bester escape from prison unfold.

The multi-disciplinary team investigating Bester’s escape from the Mangaung Correctional Centre arrested the duo over the past weekend.

The former G4S employee was arrested at his residence in Bloemfontein on Saturday, April 8, 2023, while the 65-year-old man was arrested on Friday, April 7, 2023 at his home in Port Edward.”

Both suspects have been charged with aiding and abetting a convicted prisoner to escape from lawful custody. Mathe confirmed that the delegation led by Mosikili arrived in Arusha, Tanzania.

“The team is currently engaged their Tanzanian counterparts to finalise all legal processes required towards bringing escapee Thabo Bester and his accomplices to justice in South Africa,” Mathe said.

Policing expert, Eldred de Klerk, said that Bester was arrested because he was in a country illegally, “and that is grounds for deportation”.

“The country also has the right to detain you and then deport you. It’s now for South African authorities to make a case to have him handed him over and make sure justice is served this side. Routinely you get deported back to your country and your passport gets red-flagged, you banned from the country, what they want to do now is ensure he gets handed into hands of South African authorities who have an arrest warrant and they escort him back to the country.

“South African authorities will have to present the paperwork that he is being sought. The process must be fair, face legal scrutiny, each country has to do their legal bit. They have an international responsibility to follow due process.”

Criminologist Simon Howell added: “Tracing occurs through a variety of methods mostly electronic, he is likely to have used various forms of electronic communication and that’s how they possibly initially traced him. Also crossing international borders even if illegitimate can put you in the spotlight.”

Cape Times

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