The South African police service says the investigation into the escape of Thabo Bester, convicted rapist and murderer, from the Mangaung prison in Bloemfontein last year will be given priority.
General Fannie Masemola, national police commissioner, says he instructed that this investigation be given priority in the interest of justice.
“Detectives from the units for domestic violence, child protection and sexual offenses as well as the units for organized crime investigations in the Free State and Gauteng are working together 24 hours a day on this investigation,” he said on Sunday.
Masemola’s announcement follows after the Department of Correctional Services confirmed that Bester was released from prison in May last year escape did, and therefore never burned to death as previously claimed by the department.
“A case of murder is being investigated after the results of the DNA analysis confirmed that the body of the deceased found in Thabo Bester’s prison cell is not that of Bester. The autopsy report further revealed that the deceased died due to a traumatic head injury and was already dead before the fire was started.
“A case of escape from lawful custody has also been registered.”
According to the police, more complaints may be added as the investigation continues.
“Due to the sensitive nature of the investigations, Gen. Masemola appeals to the public to be patient and give detectives space to conduct a thorough investigation and build a watertight case that can finally serve before a court,” Brig. Athlenda Mathe, national police spokesperson, said.
“Putting undue pressure on the investigators and demanding continuous updates at this stage has the potential to jeopardize the investigation.”
Mathe says the leaking of confidential and sensitive information to media institutions is also being investigated.
“No further information will be provided at this stage. The SAPS will pass on new information when circumstances permit.”
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