/ 13 April 2023

Thabo Bester co-accused remains in custody after first appearance

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Nandipha Magudumana. Photo: Supplied

Nandipha Magudumana, who assisted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester escape from prison in May last year, made her first court appearance in Bloemfontein on Thursday afternoon where she faces charges of murder and fraud. 

The celebrity doctor and businesswoman appeared alongside Teboho James Lipholo who handed himself over to the police for his role in Bester’s escape from Mangaung Correctional Centre

Bester and Magudumana arrived back in South Africa early on Thursday morning, less than a week after they were detained in northern Tanzania while travelling under false identities. Upon his arrival, Bester was sent to the maximum security Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria. 

Magudumana is charged with murder, assisting a convicted prisoner to escape custody, harbouring an escaped offender, defeating the ends of justice, violating a corpse and fraud.

Phaladi Shuping, a spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, explained to Mail & Guardian that the charges of violating a corpse relates to Magudumana who misrepresented the burnt body as Bester while being aware that it was not him. 

The fourth accused in the matter, Lipholo, was an employee at Integritron Integrated Solutions, the company contracted to install and maintain cameras at Mangaung prison. He handed himself over to the police following his suspension on 3 April after failing a polygraph test conducted by Integriton. 

The matter was postponed to Monday, 17 April.

Magudumana will appear alongside her father, Zolile Sikelele, and a former G4S employee, Senohe Matsoara, who were arrested last weekend and appeared in the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court on Tuesday morning.