For almost a year, the notorious Facebook rapist Thabo Bester lived the life of a free man in upmarket Joburg suburbs after escaping from the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein in May last year.
FOR almost a year, the notorious Facebook rapist Thabo Bester lived the life of a free man in upmarket Joburg suburbs after escaping from the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein in May last year.
Bester lived a high life with his celebrity doctor girlfriend Dr Nandipha Magudumana, as they lived in a R12m Hyde Park property, which they rented for over R40,000 per month.
There were luxurious cars, such as Porsche Cayenne’s and Mercedes Benz’s with AMG badges.
Bester and Magudumana became persons of interest after an exposé by GroundUp in March shed light about how he escaped from the G4S run prison.
We look back at the events of the past year, since Bester’s elaborate escape from prison, where he faked his death by allegedly planting an unknown body in Cell 35 before setting it alight to attempt to conceal the person’s identity.
– May 2022
On May 3, 2022, Bester escapes from Mangaung Correctional Centre with the help of G4S and Integriton employees.
G4S security supervisor Senohe Matsoara and Integriton’s CCTV technician Tebogo James Lipholo are among those who allegedly assist Bester escape. Also assisting Bester, is Magudumana, along with her father, Zolile Sekeleni.
Also in May, Bester moves in at one of the properties he and Magudumana leased in Coleraine Park in Joburg.
Magudumana moves her parents out of a second property in Hyde Park, to Coleraine Park, and Bester moves into the secluded Hyde Park mansion with high walls.
Also in May last year, Magudumana claims the body of the man found in Cell 35.
Parliament heard this week how Magudumana had the body transported to a mortuary in Soweto, before she was set to cremate it.
It has now emerged that the SAPS then confiscated the body after they found that Magudumana had claimed another body in April, claiming it was a relative, only for the body to be found floating in a river.
Also in May, Magudumana approached the North Gauteng High Court in a bid to seek relief against the police, inorder for her to be allowed to cremate the body.
She had claimed to be Bester’s customary wife, but it was found that she was still in a civil union with Dr Mkhuseli Magudumana, per home affairs records at the time.
Judge Edwin Cameron, the head of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services, who also appeared in Parliament this week, said the police should have ensured Magudumana was arrested for perjury solely based on the untruths she had presented to court.
Parliament also heard from top police officials that an affidavit submitted by Magudumana in the court case had been signed by an officer who had left the police force months earlier.
Police officials confirm to MPs that Magudumana was never questioned, despite many unanswered questions.
– June 2022
Bester and Magudumana are photographed at a Woolworths supermarket in Sandton. This only emerges in March 2023 publicly in a GroundUp report.
He is photographed sporting long hair and sunglasses.
– July 2022
Meanwhile, as the battle over the corpse continued between police and Magudumana, police conducted a DNA test with Bester’s mother. There was no match.
Police said in Parliament that their investigation was stalled by Bester’s mother, who had initially been uncooperative with the police.
A top police official said this created doubt amongst the police and they started to question if Bester’s mother was indeed the correct woman.
– August 2022
An autopsy conducted on the unknown body found in Cell 35 finds that the deceased, initially thought to be Bester, had no signs of smoke inhalation, but had been murdered. His cause of death was according to the autopsy, blunt force trauma to the head.
Judge Cameron told MPs he alerted SAPS and DCS in August, that their preliminary investigation found that Bester did not die in Cell 35.
Judge Cameron also told MPs police had asked him to keep the matter confidential, but he told MPs he shared some of the information regarding the Bester escape with the non-profit news agency GroundUp.
– September 2022
A Sandton dietician by the name of Palesa, said he had an encounter with Bester at her office.
She said the meeting came about after multiple different messages and calls from him and different people for what seems to be a modelling opportunity for her.
She said he showed up at her office wearing the same sunglasses as seen in the supermarket picture.
She said during the meeting he mentioned many things such as photoshoots, international trips and property shoots, which made no sense to her. After realising she was not interested, he left.
Matsoara is fired by G4S on suspicions he assisted Bester escape and following a disciplinary hearing wherein he could not explain some of his behaviour on the night Bester escaped in May 2022.
– October 2022
A Cape Town woman takes to social media to share her ordeal about the Facebook rapist Thabo Bester, admitting to having had sex with him after being wined and dined by the convicted murderer.
The woman, who shared her ordeal anonymously with one of Bester’s victims, said she met Bester in Cape Town in October last year.
Bester had been using the alias Katlego or KC. He drove a black Porsche SUV with Gauteng number plates, and had told the woman he was a director of Arum Properties.
They partied in Cubana and Bilboa, along with two young women who were in Bester’s company.
The woman said she was left devastated by the situation and even though that was the last time she saw him, the news of his alleged real identity and his past left her shocked, scared and disgusted.
“I’m panicking. I am in shock and disgusted. I basically consented to a rapist and murderer to ‘rape me’ because technically that was rape now that I think about it.
“And thinking about the worst that could have happened to me on both occasions that I was with him,” she said.
The anonymous woman submitted the video below, saying she took it on the day she was with Bester.
– January 2023
Bester and Magudumana flee from their Hyde Park home and return to the Coleraine Park property.
– March 2023
GroundUp publishes a report saying Bester escaped from prison.
Bester, Magudumana and her two children check into Hyde Park Southern Sun Hotel.
– March 15, 2023
Magudumana drops her children at school and fails to collect them.
On the same day, Magudumana’s husband, Mkhuseli, is called to collect the children from school.
– March 16, 2023
Bester and Magudumana flee SA through the Beitbridge border.
On the same day, a GroundUp expose details how Bester escaped from prison.
– March 17, 2023
Police and DCS tracking teams follow the fugitive couple into Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
– March 18, 2023
Bester and her lover enter Zambia, en route to Tanzania.
– March 26, 2023
After much earlier denial, the Department of Correctional Services finally confirms that Bester is alive and that he did indeed escape from Cell 35.
A case of murder is opened over the dead body found burnt in Bester’s prison cell.
– March 29, 2023
Having posted a week earlier that she would be back at work at her aesthetics business, Magudumana, unsurprisingly fails to show up at work.
– April 7, 2023
Bester and Magudumana, along with their Mozambican accomplice, are finally arrested in Tanzania.
Several passports are found in their possession, including two passport of one Dr Pashy, real name Mmereka Ntshani.
She later claims her passport was stolen by Magudumana.
– April 8, 2023
Matsoara and Magudumana’s father, Sekeleni, are arrested for murder, aiding and abetting, fraud and assisting Bester escape.
Sekeleni is arrested in Port Edward, while Matsoara is arrested in Bloemfontein.
– April 12, 2023
Matsoara and Sekeleni are charged with murder as they appear at the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court.
Meanwhile in Parliament, the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services finally gets underway as MPs finally get a chance to demand answers from G4S, Integriton, JICS, DCS and SAPS regarding Bester’s escape.
Later in the evening, Integritron CCTV technician Tebogo James Lipholo, who is accused of tampering with CCTV cameras on the night Bester escaped, is arrested in Bloemfontein.
Police also recover Magudumana’s Porsche Cayenne in the North West. A 28-year-old is taken in for questioning.
– April 13, 2023
Accompanied by top officials from the police, home affairs and correctional services, Bester and Magadumana land at Lanseria Airport in the wee hours in a private jet after being deported by Tanzania.
Bester is sent to the Kgosi Mampuru II prison in Pretoria under heavy police guard.
Magudumana appears in Bloemfontein court on charges of aiding and abetting an escaper, murder, violation of bodies and fraud. The charges against Bester are yet to be confirmed.
Integritron CCTV technician Tebogo James Lipholo, who is accused of tampering with CCTV cameras on the night Bester escaped, appears in court alongside Magudumana.
Lipholo is said to have switched off the cameras on the night Bester escaped at the Mangaung Correctional Centre.
Most cameras are focused on Magudumana, who uses a mask and a jacket to hide from the cameras, but here id Lipholo on the dock.