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'It hurts that my son was burnt in that cell' — body found in Bester's cell identified

The family of Katlego Bereng were inconsolable after learning their missing son's body was burnt in a cell as part of Thabo Bester's escape plot.

Thabo Bester
Thabo Bester
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

A grief-stricken mother is inconsolable after reportedly discovering her missing son Katlego Bereng was long dead, his remains burnt in a prison cell last year, disguised as the body of Facebook rapist and murderer Thabo Bester.

Police have finally identified the charred body found in cell 35 of the Mangaung Correctional Centre last year, initially thought to be that of Bester.

Spokesperson Brig Athlenda Mathe said the body was identified through a direct DNA match with his biological mother.

“The family has been notified by the investigating officer. No further comment will be provided. As difficult as this news is, the SAPS is pleased to bring closure to the family,” said Mathe.

Instead, the news has left Bereng’s family shocked and distraught as they had been looking for their son since March last year.

Bereng lived with his grandmother in Bloemfontein but sometime in March last year, the father of two toddlers did not return home.

Speaking to SABC on Sunday, his mother Monica Matsie said they looked for her son for two months before deciding to open a missing person’s case with the police on May 17 2022.

She said they approached hospitals and government mortuaries to try to find her son.

But police approached her two weeks ago to conduct DNA tests to try to link it with an unidentified body. The results did not match, she said.

Last week on Tuesday, an officer returned to take another DNA sample from her, she said.

“On Friday, the police came to my work and asked that I go home so we can talk. I said I cannot because I am at work. So they came to my mother’s place and broke the news to her that the body was that of Katlego,” she said.

A tearful Matsie hid her face under the blanket over her shoulders when asked how she felt about her son being used as a cover-up for Bester’s elaborate escape.

“I am not OK at all. This is painful. I am shattered,” she said.

Bester was believed to have committed suicide in cell 35 after it caught fire on May 3 2022.

But it was discovered the arson was a means for Bester to escape with the help of his girlfriend, popular aesthetic doctor Nandipha Magudumana.

The pair on the run were found in Tanzania earlier this month and have since appeared in court.



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