Thabo Bester prison break: two men in court, charged with murder

Former prison warder and father of Bester’s partner remanded in custody

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Zolile Sekeleni (left), father of Thabo Bester’s partner Nandipha Magudumana, and former prison warder Senohe Matsoara were charged in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Tuesday. Photo: Becker Semela

Former prison warder Senohe Matsoara, and Zolile Sekeleni, father of Thabo Bester’s partner Nandipha Magudumana, appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Tuesday on charges relating to Bester’s escape from Mangaung Correctional Centre in May 2022.

The case was postponed to Monday 17 April for a formal bail application. The duo face charges of murder, defeating the ends of justice, and aiding an escape. Sekeleni is also charged with fraud and Matsoara is charged with arson.

According to the charge sheet, Sekeleni and Matsoara are accused of intentionally killing a person in March 2022 in the Mangaung district of the Free State.

Convicted rapist and murderer Bester escaped from the maximum security prison, run by the multinational security company G4S, on 3 May 2022. An as yet identified male body was brought into the cell, and was set alight.

GroundUp understands that Matsoara, a G4S employee at the time, was on duty in Bester’s cell block on the night of Bester’s escape. He was suspended soon after the fire and dismissed in September 2022.

Nandipha Magudumana collected the body from the state morgue days after the escape, claiming to be Bester’s romantic partner. But the body was confiscated by police. Magudumana then approached the Pretoria High Court, claiming to be Bester’s customary law wife. She submitted an affidavit from her father as proof of lobola negotiations.

In Magudumana’s affidavit, she says that her father and an assistant went to collect the corpse from a morgue in Soweto on 13 May 2022.

Matsoara, 38, and Sekeleni, 65, were remanded back into custody by Magistrate Mohlolo Kgabisi. Lawyers Themba Diba, who represented Sekeleni, and Kagisho Moruri, who represented Matsoara, both agreed to the postponement.

The prosecutor Sello Matlhoko requested that the suspects be detained at different places. Magistrate Kgabisi agreed. Matsoara will be detained in Brandfort Correctional Centre while Sekeleni will be detained at the Bainsvlei Police Station.

TOPICS:  Thabo Bester prison escape

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