The ‘great escape’ of the infamous ‘Facebook rapist,’ Thabo Bester, continues to make headlines worldwide. After their arrest last Friday, Tanzanian authorities successfully extradited the escapee and his accomplice, as reported by Pretoria Rekord. Justice and Correctional Services and the Police Ministry issued a joint statement thanking the Tanzanian government for their cooperation in the arrest and deportation process of Bester and Dr Nandipha Magudumana.
“We are grateful to all the role players seized with this matter thus far, this includes state agencies and members of the public who have shared information that has assisted in the detention of the two fugitives, following an extensive manhunt. Thus far there is considerable progress with a number of arrests being effected,” the statement reads.
In 2012, Bester received convictions of raping and murdering his girlfriend, Nomfundo Tyhulu. The year before, he was found guilty of raping and robbing two other women. He received a sentencing to life imprisonment for Tyhulu’s murder, as well as several 15-year sentences related to the rape of other women. Bester served his sentence at the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein, but in May 2022, reports came in that he had been found dead in his cell. These reports indicated that he set himself alight. In March this year, Police Minister Bheki Cele announced that the South African Police Serve had launched a search to find the convicted criminal after DNA results could not confirm that the found body belonged to Bester.
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services discussed the matter this morning, including the details surrounding Bester’s escape from prison. Cele and Justice Minister Ronald Lamola briefed the sitting. The sitting received information that Lamola was asked in October last year to intervene in the “alleged death of Bester” and the “untoward conduct of officials.”
The committee asked G4S’s Johannes Groenewald if he had provided them with all the requested documents, to which he replied that G4S had submitted a first draft and more information “will be provided as and when it becomes available.”
Several arrests have occurred, with more expected. Two men and the father of socialite-doctor and Bester’s partner, Magudumana, were arrested during the Easter long weekend for aiding and abetting the Facebook rapist’s escape. They first appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court yesterday, while a 44-year-old technician is expected in the same court today. The man reportedly works for a company that installs and maintains CCTV cameras at the Mangaung prison.
National police commissioner Fannie Masemola confirmed that five people, including Bester and Magudumana, have thus far been arrested and that one person was answering questions. However, despite these arrests, SAPS believe more arrests are possible.
Magudumana appeared in court yesterday because of her alleged violation of corpses and involvement in a murder. She has also faced charges related to helping Bester escape prison during a faked suicide on May 3, 2022.
Picture: Twitter / FaizelPatel143