Lamola confirms arrest of Thabo Bester, SA delegation expected in Tanzania on Sunday

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Justice Minister Ronald Lamola says arrangements are being made with Tanzania to have convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester and his partner returned to South Africa. According to the Minister, a South African delegation will arrive in Tanzania on Sunday to facilitate the extradition.

Bester and Dr Nandipha Magudumana along with a Mozambican national were apprehended on Friday night by Tanzanian authorities. Bester and Magudumana have been on the run since his escape became public in recent weeks. It had been believed he had died in a fire at the Mangaung prison in Bloemfontein in May last year, but it emerged the burnt body in the prison cell was not that of Bester.

Addressing a media conference on Saturday, Minister Lamola confirmed the arrest. He claims they have great support from Tanzania.

“I had a discussion with the Justice Minister in Tanzania who has confirmed to us their willingness to help us in the process to bring them to SA as soon as possible. A delegation from SA, comprising senior officials from police, justice, and correctional services will depart for Tanzania tomorrow. We are confident that we will receive maximum cooperation from our sister nation to bring these fugitives to justice and to serve their sentence, particularly, Mr Bester.”

Media briefing on Thabo Bester developments:

Minister Lamola adds, “A case of murder is also under investigation following DNA analysis that confirms that the body of the deceased that was found In the Mangaung correctional facility was not Thabo Bester. The autopsy report also revealed that the deceased had died as a result of trauma to the head and had already died prior to the arson incident. An escape from lawful custody was also registered on confirmation by the Department of Correctional Services that Thabo Bester was not in their custody.”

Bester and Magudumana made headlines following the escape of Bester from prison in Mangaung. A burnt body was found in his prison cell and was confirmed not to be that of Bester.

The two were nabbed while trying to leave Tanzania. They were busted for being in the country illegally.

Full media briefing by Ministers of Police and Justice on ‘Facebook rapist’ arrest: 

Several passports

Minister Cele says the arrest in Tanzania of South African fugitive Bester along with his partner Dr Magudumana and a Mozambican national was a collaborative effort between local authorities and Interpol.

Cele says the three were nabbed while on their way to another country from Tanzania and were in possession of several passports with different aliases.

“It was a combination of Interpol, crime intelligence, and everybody – directed here. But the people were spotted by the people that are working with South Africa, and they were followed as they leave the hotel- and they were heading for the border of another country. They were leaving Daresalam and they were followed until they were found in Arusha. It was also discovered there, that they have several passports with different names.”

SA-Tanzania cooperation

Lamola says that Tanzania is cooperating with South Africa to bring them back to South Africa.

“The minister of police and the minister of justice and correctional services can confirm that escapee Mr Thabo Bester, or well known as Thabo Bester, with his accomplice, also known as Dr Nandipha Magudumana, with a Mozambican national – have been arrested in Tanzania, late last night. A case of murder is also under investigation following the outcomes of a DNA analysis that confirmed that the body of the deceased, which was found in the Mangaung correctional facility – was not that of Thabo Bester.”

In developments earlier this week, police raided a home in Hyde Park, Johannesburg, looking for evidence of Bester and Magudumana.

Correctional Services said it did not understand why private security company G4S appeared to be reluctant to tell the public about its role in the matter. The company failed to appear this week before Parliament, citing contractual issues with the department.