Home South African Net closes in on those who assisted Thabo Bester’s escape

Net closes in on those who assisted Thabo Bester’s escape

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Motenyane Masukela, 51, briefly appeared before the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court facing charges of assisting an inmate to escape from lawful custody and defeating the ends of justice.

The Mangaung Correctional Centre. Picture: Google Maps

HOME Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi wants G4S security company penalised, including the R1.4 million spent on returning convicted murderer and rapist Thabo Bester and his lover Dr Nandipha Magudumana to South Africa.

The two love birds, dubbed ‘’Bonnie and Clyde’’, were arrested in Arusha, Tanzania, over a week ago after fleeing the country amid reports that Bester had escaped from the Mangaung Correctional Centre almost a year ago.

Speaking in an interview with one of the broadcasters, Motsoaledi said that this amount was not the only cost that the government incurred due to the daring escape.

‘’I think they (G4S) should be penalised on many fronts, not only the R1.4 million. They should be penalised because of the carelessness, and they are being paid. I believe that the Correctional Department must say they are no longer going to pay them because they broke the clause. There are many expenses related to this,’’ said Motsoaledi.

On Thursday morning, a second G4S security employee, Motenyane Masukela, 51, briefly appeared before the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court facing charges of assisting an inmate escape from lawful custody and defeating the ends of justice.

He was seen carrying a black plastic bag, and looked uncomfortable as he was wearing shackles around his legs.

Masukela was arrested on Tuesday at the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein.

His matter was postponed to May 3 and 4, 2023, after the state requested that he appear with other accused, including Bester’s lover, Dr Nandipha Maguduma, G4S employee Senohe Matsoara, and CCTV technician Teboho Lipholo.

Announcing the decision of a postponement, Magistrate Mohlolo Khabisi said the suspects would apply for bail then.

‘’Masukela, your case is remanded until May 3 and 4, 2023, to Court 20A for your co-accused and your possible bail application. You will remain in custody until then,” Khabisi said.

Magudumana and his co-accused are facing charges of assisting an inmate to escape, defeating the ends of justice, fraud, violation of the body, and arson.

The charges relate to an incident that took place at Mangaung Correctional Centre on May 3, 2022, when Bester, who was an inmate at the prison, was said to have burned to death in his cell.

The DNA was done on the body that was burned, and it was found that it was not Bester.

The post-mortem report recorded the cause of death as blunt force trauma and not smoke inhalation.

Legal Expert Elton Hart said the charge these suspects are facing — aiding convicted criminals to escape — is a serious charge because it is undermining DCS acts. He said they might face between three and 10 years in prison.

‘’I think this list is still going to extend further. It might end up like you have 20 to 30 people that are going to be charged specifically with various crimes, from murder to the defeating of the ends of justice, as well as aiding and abetting a convicted criminal to escape from lawful custody,’’ Hart said.

He said he does not think the list of accused is stopping at six or seven but more.

The Star

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