More suspects in Thabo Bester jail break case released on bail

Joel Makhetha, the 11th accused in the Thabo Bester prison break case, has been granted bail with conditions.

The magistrate ruled that Makhetha’s release on bail is in the interest of justice. Makhetha, along with another accused, Moeketsi Ramolula, appeared in court on Tuesday seeking bail.

The suspended G4S employees are facing charges of corruption, violation of a body, and aiding and abetting a convict.

During Makhetha’s bail application, his lawyer Tshepo Thusi read his affidavit where Makhetha, a father of four, stated that he has been suspended from G4S with pay and disclosed his monthly earnings as R17 000.

The state did not oppose the bail application after the court was informed that Makhetha’s details had been verified, and the investigating officer confirmed that the witnesses who provided statements are unknown to Makhetha.

Furthermore, he has surrendered his passport to the investigating officer, and his lawyer has been provided with a list of 18 witnesses with whom he is prohibited from communicating.

As part of the bail conditions, Makhetha is required to report to the Bloemspruit police station once a week between 8am and 4 pm. Additionally, he is not allowed to leave Bloemfontein without informing the investigating officer.

The case has gained significant attention, with a total of 12 people including Thabo Bester having been arrested so far. Notably, six suspects have already been released on bail.

Two suspects, Ramolula and Bester’s partner and purported accomplice abandoned bail.

Nandipha Maguduma previously abandoned bail to contest the legality of her deportation from the Republic of Tanzania, where she and Bester were nabbed trying to flee.

Magudumana had approached the high court arguing that her deportation on April 13 was illegal.

While judge Phillip Loubser acknowledged that the purported deportation was, in fact, a disguised extradition, he ruled against Magudumana, citing her consent to leave the country with Bester, a convicted murderer and rapist.

“It is patently clear that the respondents willingly participated in the handing over at the airport believing that such handing over was done in terms of international law and in terms of the law in Tanzania,” said Loubser.

“They didn’t realise this handover was an extradition not deportation.”

Magudumana then applied for leave to appeal the ruling of the Bloemfontein High Court. In court papers filed in June, she is arguing that consent cannot be given to unconstitutional and unlawful conduct.

She contends that the court relied on cases which were decided before the final constitution was adopted and failed to take into account the rights and values enshrined in the constitution.

Her appeal is set to be heard on Friday.


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