The serial rapist and convicted murderer Thabo Bester and his fellow fugitive, Dr. Nandipha Magudumana, is back in South Africa. Justice Minister Ronald Lamola confirmed on Thursday that the government of Tanzania had successfully extradited Bester and Magudumana.
“We can confirm that these fugitives are back on their own soil,” Lamola said during a news conference.
“Bester is being held in the Kgosi Mampuru II maximum security prison and Magudumana has been arrested pending her first appearance in court.”
Magudumana is expected to appear in court in Bloemfontein soon and may be charged with, among other things, complicity in escape and murder.
According to Makgothi Samuel Thobakgale, national commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services (DKD), the prison where Bester is being held is “the most suitable place for him to be”.
He will be guarded 24 hours a day by highly trained officers to ensure that there are no security breaches.
“The section where Bester is kept is specifically for high-risk prisoners and we have not yet had any incidents.”
Here comes #DrNandiphaMagudumana pic.twitter.com/BmytOMh8jO
— Mzilikazi wa Afrika (@IamMzilikazi) April 13, 2023
It is still unknown how Bester and Magudumana left the country seemingly unseen earlier.
Bheki Cele, minister of police, says it is certain that it was done in an illegal way.
General Fannie Masemola, national police commissioner, says the investigation into the Mozambican citizen who apparently accompanied Bester and Magudumana to Tanzania is already under way. An extradition application for this person will also be submitted.
Lamola and Cele thanked the government of Tanzania for the cooperation that led to the extradition of Bester and Magudumana.
“We will endeavor to pursue this level of cooperation and mutual assistance with other countries,” says Lamola.
“We are also grateful to all the role players, from the government agencies to members of the public who shared information that helped locate the two fugitives.”
Several people who were allegedly involved in the escape saga have already been suspended in their professional capacity or are facing criminal charges.
Zolile Sekeleni (65), Magudumana’s father, and Senohe Matsoara (39), a former warden at the Mangaung maximum security prison, have already appeared in court for their alleged involvement in the case.
Another 44-year-old man, believed to be an employee of a company contracted to install and maintain cameras at the Mangaung Maximum Security Prison, was arrested on Tuesday, while a 28-year-old man is being questioned by the police.
Three DCD officials have also already been suspended.
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