The Correctional Services commissioner has confirmed that an undisclosed number of officials are in trouble for allowing convicted murderer and rapist Thabo Bester to wear a Louis Vuitton sweater valued at around R15,000 to court last week.
CORRECTIONAL Services Commissioner Makgoth Samuel Thobakgale confirmed that an undisclosed number of officials are in trouble for allowing convicted murderer and rapist Thabo Bester to wear a white Louis Vuitton sweater valued at around R15,000 to court last week.
Thobakgale said accused persons are allowed to wear private clothes when appearing in court, however, he emphasised the importance of respecting the court.
Thobakgale was speaking in an interview with eNCA’s Dr JJ Tabane on Monday night.
‘’I warned him (Bester) to respect the court, and those officials on duty were warned too, but Bester wore his sweater in court. I told him to respect the court. Those officials are facing disciplinary action,’’ said Thobakgale.
To add salt to the wound, Bester’s girlfriend, Dr Nandipha Magudumana, was seen spotting a crisp, white Nike sweater. The pair almost broke the internet as a number of South Africans commented; some admired the matching outfits and the manner of their body language, signalling joy to see each other; other people gasped to remind the people of the serious charges they are facing.
Whenever the pair appear in court, they trend for their expensive fashion taste, which many people voiced as arrogant and lacking in remorse to the families of victims, including that of Katlego Bereng.
Bereng’s charred body was found in Bester’s cell. His bereaved family still attends court cases, saying they want justice for their loved one who died and left two young children without a father.
From the moment Bester stepped into the dock, his eyes were set on the one and only Magudumana, who was also seen beaming with joy with a broad smile, manicured nails, neat afro-hairstyle, and make-up. She embraced her lover, whom she last saw in Arusha, Tanzania, in April.
The two were arrested and deported to South Africa after fleeing the country amid reports that Bester escaped from the Mangaung Correctional Facility run by G4S security.
Bester escaped from the facility in May last year, but Correctional Services only noticed a while later, and together with the police, they apprehended him this year.
Thobakgale said he has 39,000 employees looking after 152,000 people in 243 centres across the country.
‘’I also have 58,000 that are in the parole system that need to be visited and monitored on a daily basis. Out of the 30,000, only 27,000 are security officers. We have officers that are committed and put their lives on the line on a daily basis, given all the challenges that we face as DCS. Bester is a mom-issue; remember, he escaped from a private facility. If he had escaped from our facility, we would have gotten hold of him within 48 hours. All those escapades he was involved in wouldn’t have happened,’’ Thobakgale said.
Last month, Thobakgale took some members of the media to Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Facility, where Bester is kept. He was in an isolated cell and he quickly grabbed media attention amid accusations of inhumane treatment by prison officials.
Last week, his legal representative told the court that he was handcuffed while inside his cell.
“Bester is not in any business now. I took media to his cell,” he said.
Bester also claimed that when apprehended in Tanzania, in his possession he had two Rolex watches worth R2.6 million, a ring worth R350,000, a cup holder worth R15,000, 500,000 euros, $37,0000 and two iPhones.
Thobakgale said the national commissioner of SAPS indicated that Bester must go to Tanzania to ask what happened to his money and whatever he lost.
“He is incarcerated properly,” Thobakgale said.