/ 13 April 2023

Thabo Bester arrives in SA, sent to Kgosi Mampuru C-max prison

Thabo Bester6
Thabo Bester escaped from his prison cell — by faking his death in the form of a mysterious burnt corpse specially brought in for the purpose. Photo: Supplied

Convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester has been sent to the maximum security Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria while Nandipha Magudumana will make her first court appearance in the Bloemfontein magistrate court on Thursday morning.

Bester and Magudumana have been successfully returned to South Africa, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola announced at a media briefing in Cape Town on Thursday morning.  

The two were detained in Tanzania on Friday last week after being on the run since Bester escaped from the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein on 3 May 2022.

“We are grateful to all the role players seized with this matter thus far,” said Lamola. “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 police confirmed the arrest of a third suspect who was an employee at Integritron Integrated Solutions, which installs and maintains cameras at Mangaung prison. The 44-year-old handed himself over to the police after he was suspended on 3 April having failed a polygraph test by Integriton.

Two suspects, former G4S employee Senohe Ishmael Matsoara, 39, and Zolile Cornelius Sikelele, 65, who is Magudumana’s father, appeared in the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court on Tuesday morning after their arrest over the weekend. 

They each face four charges including murder, assisting an inmate to escape and defeating the ends of justice. Matsoara is separately charged with arson and Sikelele with fraud.

The matter was postponed to 17 April for possible bail applications, said Phaladi Shuping, a spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority.

More arrests are imminent. 

The police are questioning a 28-year-old man. National police commissioner Fannie Masemola told media on Thursday morning that should he be charged, it will bring the number of arrests to six. 

The department for correctional services, the police, Lamola and the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services are expected to appear before parliament’s portfolio committee on justice on Thursday.