Thabo Bester case: Nandipha’s father granted R10 000 bail

Zolile Cornelius Sekeleni, the father of Dr Nandipha Magudumana, has been granted bail of R10 000 and is due to appear in court for the third time on May 16.

Sekeleni is accused of aiding Thabo Bester, a convicted murderer and rapist, to escape from prison in Mangaung, Bloemfontein in May 2022.

Sekeleni was arrested in Port Edward while his co-accused former G4S employee Monohe Matsoara was nabbed in Bloemfontein. Their arrests preceded those of his fugitive daughter and lover in Tanzania over a week ago.

On Monday, Sekeleni, Motsoara, Magudumana, and Tebogo Lipholo, a CCTV technician, appeared before the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court for a bail hearing.

The court granted Sekeleni bail on the condition that he reports to the Port Edward police station between 8am and 4pm once a week and not leave the Port Edward area.

The state opposed the bail applications of the other accused, and their next hearing is scheduled for May 3. Lipholo requested the assignment of a legal representative, as he does not currently have one.

Magudumana was asked to reveal her face in court for the first time on Monday to confirm her identity. She had been wearing a face mask and hoodie since her return from Tanzania, causing suspicions on social media.

“The court itself must be satisfied with the identity [of the accused]. We might find that’s not the person. But the court needs to be satisfied that it is indeed the person being charged,” said prosecutor Sello Matlhoko.

Advocate Themba Diba argued that it was not necessary because Magudumana’s identity has been confirmed. However, magistrate Motlholo Khabisi ordered her to expose her face.

Her customary husband Bester caused controversy last week due to his possession of multiple identities. It was reported that Bester and Magudumana had multiple passports in their possession when they were apprehended in Tanzania.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Mostoaledi confirmed last week that Bester is not listed on the South African population register due to complications arising from his upbringing.

Motsoaledi explained that Bester’s mother, Maria Mabaso, could not register him after giving birth at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital on June 13 1986, saying Bester only registered for school in 1997 and managed to get as far as grade 5.

“Bester’s mother was never registered when she was born. In other words, she had no birth certificate, no ID when she was 37 in 2002,” said Motsoaledi.

“In 2002, her mother passed on and her aunt decided to take Bester’s mother for registration. In other words, they did a late registration of birth.”

Motsoaledi said Mabaso took on her aunt’s surname and not the one she used when she gave birth to Bester.

“She then decided that ‘since I’m registered’, let me register my kids also, and she registered them under the same surname of the aunt.

“All the three kids registered suddenly became Mabaso, no longer Besters. They got their birth certificates, they got their IDs.”

Bester had no contact with his mother after 2006 until his arrest in 2011.

“So as I said, Bester never registered with Home Affairs at any stage. The only place you could find him, as police said, was in correctional services when he was an inmate, that’s where you will find his fingerprints.

“Otherwise, in terms of registration, in a civil manner, the only other place where you could find Bester is Chris Baragwanath Hospital in the records that are now 37 years old.

“So, as we have said, because Bester never took an ID, never married, never took a passport in Home Affairs, he simply did not exist in our systems. Bester does not have any passport with Home Affairs,” said Motsoaledi.

The minister further stated that Bester probably fell into the hands of criminals who use young children whose fingerprints are not on the Home Affairs system.

“I think he fell into the hands of criminals who are known to use young kids whose fingerprints do not exist in Home Affairs because your fingerprints only start existing on our system when you are 16.”

He added that Bester was first convicted when he was 17, which would have made him eligible for an ID, revealing that Bester and Magudumana did not cross any border legally and that Bester was found in Tanzania in possession of an American passport under the name Tom Williams Kelly.

Unlike her lover, Magudumana is registered as a South African citizen, confirmed Motsoaledi.

Also read: Thabo Bester case: Nandipha’s father charged with murder

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