Thabo Bester case: Dr Magudumana and co-accused

From right to left: Dr. Nandipha Magudumana, Tebolo Liphondo, Zolile Sekeleni who is Nandipha’s father looking at his daughter as well as Senohe Matsoarana when they appeared at the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Monday. PICTURE: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

The family of Dr. Nandipha Magudumana, who is accused of aiding Facebook rapist Thabo Bester in escaping from jail and is also charged with other offenses, was present at the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Monday to support her and her father, Zolile Sekeleni.

Sekeleni (65), the second accused in this case, first sat close to his daughter in court when they arrived, showing affection and whispering to one another since it was their first meeting since Magudumana was arrested in Tanzania last week.

Sekeleni was granted bail of R10,000 despite facing charges, including one for aiding his daughter in Bester’s escape from Mangaung Prison and another for murder that the National Prosecution Authority dropped due to a lack of supporting evidence.

The court also ordered Sekeleni to visit the Port Edward Police Station once a week between the hours of 8am and 4pm. Additionally, the court mandated that he notify the Port Edward Police Station of his travel plans.

Magudumana and Bester were arrested last week in Tanzania after escaping the law after learning that the police were looking for them in South Africa.

On April 23 of last year, Magudumana claimed three bodies in a government mortuary, one of which she claimed was her father, whom they had been searching for a long time.

One of the bodies was placed in Bester’s cell and torched, pretending it was Bester’s body since they were trying to help him escape and claimed he was the one who died. One of these bodies was discovered in the Free State in a river, still wrapped.

Following their attempts, Bester escaped from prison in May 2022. The couple was also discovered to be in possession of a number of fake passports, some of which were already expired.

In order for the court to verify that Magudumana is who she says she is, the judge ordered her to remove the hood over her face. When she did, her father turned to face his daughter.

Magudumana and the two accused, Senohe Matsoara, a security guard for G4S, and Teboho Lipholo, a camera technician, were not given bail; instead, they were kept in custody pending their application for bail on May 4.

Bester is scheduled to make a second appearance on May 16 and submit a bail application. Bester’s attorney claimed during his court appearance that Bester avoids eating prison food out of fear for his life.

Magudumana has two little girls from her previous marriage. She showed up in court with her wedding band on.