Jailed Bester and Magudumana rekindle their love in court

A scene of exquisite affection unfolded in the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court on Tuesday morning when Thabo Bester and Nandipha Magudumana reunited after nearly three months since their arrest in Tanzania.

The couple’s emotional reunion took place during a court appearance alongside 10 co-accused implicated in Bester’s escape from the Mangaung Correctional Centre in May 2022.

With an air of familiarity, Bester and Magudumana shared a tender moment, catching up and exchanging smiles before the proceedings commenced.

Seated side by side, their connection was palpable, a stark contrast to the high-stakes legal battle they now find themselves embroiled in.

During the proceedings, Bester’s lawyer shed light on the grim conditions his client purportedly endures while incarcerated at the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre in Pretoria.

Bester, said the lawyer, spends the majority of his day in handcuffs in his cell, raising concerns about potential ill-treatment behind bars.

“There are instructions which I received from the fifth accused [Bester]. Firstly, he says he has been inhumanely treated at the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre. He spends almost 23 hours in handcuffs … on a daily basis,” the lawyer said.

The couple’s legal team also revealed a disturbing detail relating to the arrest of Bester and Magudumana in Tanzania in April.

A litany of personal belongings including a laptop, a marriage ring, luxury watches, and items from high-end brands such as Louis Vuitton and Burberry “were stolen” and have not been recovered to this day.

The list extended to include various currencies such as rands, dollars, Tanzanian shillings, and Zambian kwacha.

The unexplained disappearance of these items has cast a shadow of uncertainty over the circumstances surrounding the couple’s apprehension.

Magudumana’s legal counsel, in a starkly contrasting tone, accused law enforcement of treating her in an inhumane manner during her transportation to court.

The lawyer asserted that she was handcuffed, highlighting concerns about the manner in which she was brought to court.

“She was handcuffed and when she questioned how she was transported … her protest fell on deaf ears,” the court heard.

The magistrate acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations and announced that further investigations are necessary.

The case has been postponed to October 11.


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