Home South African Former G4S official ignored calls regarding a fire in Thabo Bester’s cell,...

Former G4S official ignored calls regarding a fire in Thabo Bester’s cell, Parliament told

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Former G4S official Senohe Matsoara apparently ignored calls of a fire that broke out in Thabo Bester’s cell at the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein.

Thabo Bester after his arrest in Tanzania. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – Former G4S official Senohe Matsoara, who was arrested alongside Nandipha Magudumana’s father, apparently ignored calls of a fire that broke out in Thabo Bester’s cell at the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein.

G4S regional commercial director Cobus Groenewoud on Wednesday told Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional services that there were several incidents that led to Bester’s escape and that some of these were a subject of further investigations.

He said they were probing and analysing CCTV cameras where two people were seen running in the direction of the administrative building of the prison.

He, however, pointed out that the two people in question can’t bee seen clearly because the footage was taken at a distance.

According to Groenewoud, the SAPS opened a case of escape against Thabo Bester in January this year.

He said the security company only learnt from the Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons, chaired by Judge Edwin Cameron, in February this year that they suspected this was an escape.

Groenewoud further alleged that Matsoara ignored calls regarding the fire on the day in question.

He said he had sent staff members to do insignificant tasks when there was a fire in Bester’s cell.

Matsoara appeared in court with Zolile Sekeleni, Magudumana’s father, on Monday.

But Groenewoud insisted that they had also received an observation report from the Department of Correctional Services that there was a car that had gone through the facility without a gate pass on April 29 last year, which was a few days before Bester escaped.

“This incident happened on April 29, 2022. As I mentioned, we received a notification from DCS on February 28, 2022. This observation was based by DCS on a sworn affidavit it had received from a G4S staff member around mid-November 2022. We immediately launched an investigation,” said Groenewoud.

He maintained that when Bester’s cell caught fire, staff members had picked up the smell of an accelerant (a substance used to aid the spread of fire).

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