Thabo Bester case: Court challenges Magudumana’s ‘kidnapping’


By Daniel Steyn for GroundUp

Nandipha Magudumana’s bail application continued for a third day in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Among other things, Magudumana is facing charges of fraud, corruption and the violation of bodies in connection with the escape of the rapist and murderer Thabo Bester from prison in May 2022.

She was arrested together with Bester in Tanzania in April 2023.

She earlier told the court that Bester took her to Tanzania against her will, but the state disputed that Magudumana was kidnapped.

However, Magudumana’s lawyer, advocate Machini Motlaung, argued that the state was unable to produce evidence that successfully contradicted her version of events.

Motlaung said in court on Monday that his client’s right to freedom would be harmed if she was not released on bail. He said there was no indication when the criminal trial would continue. Until she is found guilty of the crimes, she should be presumed innocent, he said.

However, State Prosecutor Sello Mathloko said because Magudumana is facing schedule 5 charges, the onus is on her to show that the interests of justice allow her to be released on bail. Mathloko argued that Magudumana had not provided evidence to convince the court that she should be released.

He also questioned the strength of Magudumana’s claim that she was kidnapped by Bester. “They don’t reveal where they met, how they met, or how he kidnapped her. Was it with a firearm, was it with a knife? How was she kidnapped?… She does not trust the court with this information,” said Mathloko.

Mathloko pointed out that, moreover, Magudumana had not filed a kidnapping case against Bester.

Magudumana cited parental responsibility as a reason for bail, but, Mathloko said, “these are the children she left behind when she was ‘kidnapped’ and decided not to file a criminal case against the person” .

Mathloko said Magudumana’s May 2022 High Court application, in which she claimed to be Bester’s customary law wife, proved that she had no respect for the legal system. (Her founding affidavit in that application contained several falsehoods, including that Bester’s mother was deceased and that his uncle was David Magugula. Bester’s real uncle confirmed to police that David Magugula did not exist.)

The application for bail was adjourned until Monday, September 11.

  • This post was originally published on GroundUp and is used with permission on RNews.