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Bester escape lands girlfriend’s father, ex-warden in Bloemfontein court

Nandipha Magudumana’s father and a former prison warden are expected to appear before the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Tuesday in connection with rapist and murderer Thabo Bester’s escape from prison.

Police confirmed the development on Monday.

Magudumana’s father, Zolile Cornelius Sekeleni, was arrested at his Port Edward home in the Eastern Cape province on Friday, while Senohe Matsoara, a former correctional services employee, was nabbed at his residence in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

They are accused of helping Bester to fake his own death in a daring prison break from the Mangaung Correctional Centre where he was serving a life sentence for raping two women he lured via Facebook.

He killed one of his rape victims.

The prison was managed privately by the British-based G4S security firm.

“A 39-year-old former G4S employee and a 65-year-old man from Port Edward, in the Eastern Cape, are expected to appear before the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Tuesday, 11 April 2023, following their arrest as investigations into the Thabo Bester escape from prison unfold,” the South African Police Service said in a statement on Monday.

“Both suspects have been charged with aiding and abetting a convicted prisoner to escape from lawful custody,” it added.

Magudumana, a well-known celebrity doctor, is Bester’s girlfriend.

The two lovers – who went on the run a fortnight ago after it emerged the convicted rapist and murderer had faked his death in an elaborate scam to escape from prison – were nabbed in Tanzania over the weekend together with a Mozambican national believed to have assisted them to cross borders and evade law-enforcement authorities.

Authorities said they had believed Bester died after setting himself alight in the Mangaung Correctional Centre on 3 May 2022, until recent DNA tests revealed the charred remains found in Bester’s cell belonged to someone else.

While the process to extradite the trio is underway, it has now emerged that Magudumana allegedly stole three bodies from Free State mortuaries in a bid to help his boyfriend escape from prison.

She reportedly claimed one of the bodies was her father’s.

The body was later found dumped in Bloemspruit dam a week later and it still had the mortuary’s identification tag attached to the toe, according to the Sunday Times.

This led to her father Sekeleni’s arrest.

Bester’s elaborate break from prison has raised many questions about the possible involvement of prison officials.

Matsoara, who was a warden at the Mangaung Correctional Centre, is believed to have purchased a R600 000 VW T-Roc using money that he allegedly received from Bester as a bribe to help him escape.

For nearly a year after his prison escape, Bester was reportedly living a lavish lifestyle with Magudumana in Johannesburg’s upmarket Hyde Park suburb.

While in prison, Bester used a laptop he had for studies to run an event and production company, according news outlet GroundUp.

At one point he addressed a conference from his prison cell, telling attendees that he was speaking from the United States, it reported. – Staff Reporter

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