Thabo Bester’s birth was never registered and he was never issued an identity document or passport.
The Department of Internal Affairs could not locate any information about Bester in its systems, Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said during a media conference on Friday.
Internal affairs officers then went to the home of Maria Meisie Mabaso, who was identified in the media as Bester’s mother. She told the officers that Bester was born on 13 June 1986 at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. Officers then went to this hospital where archive records confirmed this.
Mabaso herself also never had a birth certificate or ID and only obtained it at the age of 37 when her aunt helped her with it. She then also decided to adopt her aunt’s surname, Mabaso, instead of her mother’s surname, Bester. Mabaso subsequently also registered her three other children with the surname Mabaso. According to her, Bester disappeared in 2006 and she did not register him for that reason.
However, Mabaso was able to remember which school Bester attended and officers visited the school and established that he did attend the relevant primary school in the south of Johannesburg. He completed 5th grade before he disappeared.
Regarding reports that numerous passports were found in Bester’s possession upon his arrest, Motsoaledi said his department never issued a passport to Bester and that an American passport was found in his possession when he was arrested in Tanzania. The name of one Tom Williams Kelly appears on this passport.
According to Motsoaledi, there is no record that Bester used the passport to leave South Africa and it is therefore still to be determined how and where he and his girlfriend, Dr. Nandipha Magudumana, crossed the country’s borders.
The Department of Correctional Services and the police did take Bester’s fingerprints and a photograph when he was first arrested.
Magudumana appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Thursday hours after she and Bester were brought back to South Africa. The case against her was adjourned until Monday. She is then expected to appear in court together with the other co-accused in the case, including her father.
Bester is expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court later today.
Leave a Reply