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Bheki Cele says many more will be arrested over Thabo Bester prison escape


Police Minister Bheki Cele says many more people will be arrested in connection with Facebook Rapist Thabo Bester’s daring prison escape.

Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane, African News Agency (ANA)

MANY more people will be arrested in connection with Facebook Rapist Thabo Bester’s Mangaung prison escape in May last year, Police Minister Bheki Cele has said.

He said the police will leave no stone unturned in their investigations.

The police have so far arrested G4S employee Senohe Matsoara, CCTV operator Tebogo James Lipholo and Dr Nandipha Magudumana’s father, Zolile Sekeleni.

Bester and Magudumana were arrested in Tanzania and deported to South Africa last week.

Police top management came under fire from MPs last week for their lax response to the Bester escape and slow pace of investigations when they were the first to smell a rat about Bester’s supposed death in Cell 35.

In July last year, the police knew that the DNA of Bester’s mother, Maria Mabaso, did not match that of the body found in Cell 35.

The police said Bester’s DNA samples, which were supposed to be stored in the SAPS DNA database when he was convicted of rape in 2012, could not be found.

Cele said that once Bester and the others linked to him were jailed, Correctional Services was expected to deal with them.

“But what has become very clear here is that the investigation will have to go much deeper, higher, and sideways,” said Cele.

“Everything is going to be investigated and there will be no stone that will be left unturned, and we believe, by the look of things, that many people will have to answer on this matter.”

He said that with four people having appeared before the courts on Monday, and Bester being the fifth, more arrests were expected.

“When we ask the investigation team and others that are involved in the case, many people are expected to be arrested as soon as the investigation continues,” Cele said.

On Monday, Sekeleni appeared briefly in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court and was granted R10,000 bail. The bail conditions state that he must report to Port Edward police station once a week, remain within the magisterial district of Port Edward and refrain from contacting the State witnesses.

He is due to return to the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on May 16.

Sekeleni made a brief appearance alongside his daughter, Magudumana, and co-accused and former G4S prison warder Matsoara and Integritron CCTV technician Lipholo.

Magudumana, Matsoara and Lipholo were remanded in custody until their bail application that has been set down for May 3 and 4, 2023.

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