Police release identikit of another man whose body Nandipha claimed

7 Jul 2023

The Free State police have released an identikit of an individual whose body was allegely also claimed by Thabo Bester's girlfriend.

Thabo Bester - Figure 1
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Nandipha Magudumana, who is in custody facing various charges on the Bester escape saga, allegedly claimed the body of this unknown individual on 8 April 2022, who was later found by the police on the 28th of the same month last year. 

The body was found at Modder River, allegedly with a tag still intact, just a few days before Bester escaped from the Mangaung Correctional Centre under the guard of G4S.

Identikit of another individual whose body was claimed by Nandipha Magudumana.

She had fraudulantly claimed three bodies, including the body of Katlego Bereng.

According to police spokesperson, Motantsi Makhele, the body of this unknown individual was first found in Lovedale Road, Bloemfontein, in a hit-and-run on 9 October 2021. 

"The police are looking for anybody with information to trace the next of kin of the man that was found in a river in Bloemfontein. The body is that of a black man found in the Modder River next to Bloemfontein. Anybody with information on who this man can be or the whereabouts of his next of kin can contact Colonel Ben Bolsiek at 082-466-8530," Makhele said.

Accused 7 Tieho Frans Makhotsa appearing in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court. Photo: Lucky Nkuyane

Thabo Bester - Figure 2
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On 12 May 2023, during the bail hearing of some of the accused in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court, a state witness Tieho Flyman from the Free State Police's Organised Crime Unit, who testified in the bail application of suspects, revealed that Magudumana fraudulently claimed the body of Bereng as the body of Zanda Moyo's brother and claimed to be helping Moyo to have the corpse buried.

“The dead body was taken to the Thusanong Mortuary for the preparation of the burial and the funeral was held in phase two, where Matsoara got the body from,” Flyman told the court.

Flyman also revealed during his testimony at this bail hearing that Bereng's body, which was claimed by Magudumana, was never buried or inside the casket, the police found three bags of 10kg maize flour. The two funerals were held at Phase 2 in Bloemfontein. 

A police officer raised the alarm after becoming suspicious of Magudumana claiming bodies. It ultimately prevented Bereng's body from being cremated and assisted the police's investigation tremendously.

During the bail hearing of the five co-accused, Flyman told Magistrate Mohlolo Khabisi that suspects, including Senohe Matsoara, Teboho James Lipholo, and Tieho Frans Makhotsa, received thousands of rands instead of millions promised by Bester.

Thabo Bester - Figure 3
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Tom Katlego-Motsepe Nkwana (Bester) made regular payments of R20 000, R25 000, and R30 000 to Matsoara whilst in prison. Matsoara received plus-minus R150 000 from April and after the escape in May 2022.

Makhotsa, accused 7, was paid R14 000. He first received R10 000 and then R4 000 after Bester's escape in May 2022.

So far, 12 people have been arrested for allegedly aiding Bester to escape from cell 35 in Broadway, at G4S, on 3 May 2022. The accused in the matter include accused 1 Matsoara, 2 Zolile Sekeleni, 3 Lipholo, 4 Magudumana, 5 Bester, 6 Motanyane John Masukela, 7 Makhotsa, 8 Nastassja Jansen, and 9 Moyo. They all face varying charges, including the aforementioned charges.

An additional three men, including accused 10 Thabo Mier, 11 Thabang Joel Makhetha, and 12 Moeketsi Ramolula, made a brief court appearance before Magistrate Mohlolo Khabisi on Monday 3 July 2023.

Nandipha  Magudumana alongside accused 1 Senohe Matsoara. Photo: Lucky Nkuyane

Mier was released on R10 000 bail. The two others, who are G4S employees, have been remanded in custody until their next court appearance. 

On Wednesday 5 July 2023, the Free State High Court Judge Joseph Mhlambi overturned Magistrate Khabisi's decision to deny Matsoara, Lipholo, and Makhotsa bail.

Only Magudumana and Moyo are yet to apply for bail. Moyo, during his last court appearance, abandoned his right to apply for bail, whilst Magudumana reserved her right to apply for bail in one of her previous appearances.

Bester was arrested in Tanzania alongside Magudumana after they allegedly went on the run from the police. It's said that after his escape from G4S, Bester had a lavish lifestyle in Johannesburg. But after being re-arrested in Tanzania, he and his girlfriend were both brought back to South Africa.

Bester was sent to the Kgosi Mampuru Maximum Correctional Centre, whilst Dr Magudumana was brought to Bloemfontein where she appeared in court on 13 April 2023. She’s kept in custody at Kroonstad.

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