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Thabo Bester, Dr Nandipha Magudumana nabbed 10km from Kenyan border

Tankiso Makhetha Investigative reporter
Detective W/O Shane Naidoo leads Thabo Bester out of the holding cells at the Durban magistrate's court on October 12 2011.
Detective W/O Shane Naidoo leads Thabo Bester out of the holding cells at the Durban magistrate's court on October 12 2011.
Image: Khaya Ngwenya/City Press/Gallo Images

“Facebook rapist” Thabo Bester and his lover, Dr Nandipha Magudumana, have been arrested in Tanzania, 10km from the Kenyan border.

At a briefing on Saturday, police minister Bheki Cele said the couple was arrested with a Mozambican who is believed to have aided them in their two-week-long run from authorities after news of Bester's audacious escape last year from the Mangaung Correctional Centre surfaced.

“We received information last night at 10.07pm and we started working and converged today at 8am. Our forces, with the assistance of Interpol and crime intelligence, have been working on the Bester case. The people [Bester and Magudumana] were spotted leaving their hotel in a black SUV by those working on the case. They followed them and found them with a third person, a Mozambican national, and they found various passports on them,” said Cele.

The police minister said a team will be dispatched to Tanzania on Sunday to process the fugitives' return to South Africa.

Cele said it was not yet clear what their movements had been up until they were apprehended on Friday night, “but what is certain is that their method of entering Tanzania was illegal. There is not a single stamp on the passports that they had when they were apprehended. They were 10km away from Kenya when they were arrested and it looks like they were heading for the next country.”

Explaining the difference between extradition and deportation, minister of justice and correctional services Ronald Lamola said: “That the pair were in Tanzania illegally means they will have to be deported back to South Africa.

“In Bester's case, he was charged, tried, convicted and sentenced. He is someone who escaped from custody. The process should not be difficult in his case."

The justice minister could not state how long it would take for the couple to be brought back to this country. 

Earlier in the day police said a case of murder was being investigated after DNA analysis confirmed the body found in Bester's cell, which was burnt beyond recognition and used to cover up his escape, was not that of the 35-year-old.

The autopsy also revealed the deceased died as a result of blunt-force trauma to the head and was already dead before Bester's cell was torched.

A case of escaping from custody was also registered when it was discovered Bester was no longer in the department of correctional services' custody. 

TimesLIVE

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