Nandipha Magudumana appears in court for first time

Bail application postponed until 17 April after Thabo Bester’s lover and alleged accomplice returned to South Africa

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Dr Nandipha Magudumana appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrates’ Court on Thursday. Photos: Becker Semela

Thabo Bester’s partner Dr Nandipha Magudumana and Teboho Lipholo, an alleged co-conspirator in Bester’s escape, appeared briefly in the Bloemfontein Magistrates’ Court on Thursday. Their formal bail application was postponed to Monday next week, 17 April.

The duo appeared before the court facing charges including aiding the escape of the convicted murderer and rapist. Magudumana’s charges include aiding and abetting escape, “murder of a number of bodies”, violation of bodies, and fraud, according to SAPS Police Commissioner Fannie Masemola. Bester and Magudumana arrived in South Africa on Thursday after being detained in Tanzania.

Magudumana and Lipholo will both be joined to the cases against Magudumana’s father, Zolile Sekeleni, and the former G4S security officer Senohe Matsoara, who appeared before the same court on Tuesday. Those cases were also postponed to next week Monday.

Magudumana and Lipholo had been detained at Park Road Police Station before being taken to the Magistrates’ Court. They entered the court chained by their legs but with their hands free, flanked by heavily armed police officers.

Magudumana wore a hoodie pulled closely around her face and covered her mouth and nose with a mask. She kept her head down throughout. Lipholo did not cover his face.

Lipholo is a former employee of Integriton, a company that installed and maintained the surveillance cameras at the Mangaung Correctional Centre. He did not have an attorney and he was given a chance to either get one or have one appointed from Legal Aid South Africa before court on Monday.

On Wednesday, the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Correctional Services heard evidence from Integriton representatives that Lipholo was seen walking to the room housing the prison CCTV servers shortly before the cameras stopped recording. They said that Lipholo handed himself in to SAPS.

Magudumana was represented by advocate Themba Diba, who also represented her father on Tuesday.

It was not disclosed where the duo will be detained in the interim.

Teboho Lipholo, an alleged co-conspirator in Bester’s escape.

TOPICS:  Thabo Bester prison escape

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