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Murder charge dropped in Thabo Bester and co-accused's saga

Tankiso Makhetha Investigative reporter
Katlego Junior Mpholo, whose body was used to conceal Thabo Bester's escape.
Katlego Junior Mpholo, whose body was used to conceal Thabo Bester's escape.
Image: Supplied

The murder charge faced by Thabo Bester, his lover Nandipha Magudumana and their co-accused has been withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

This was revealed on Wednesday after the appearance of Magudumana, Senohe Matsoara, Teboho Lipholo, Buty Masemola, Tieho Makhotsa and Nastassja Jansen in the Bloemfontein magistrate's court for their alleged roles in Bester's audacious May 22 escape from Mangaung Correctional Centre.

The group were initially charged with murder after it was revealed the charred body found in Bester's prison cell was that of Katlego Junior Mpholo.

His body was used to orchestrate what is believed to have been one of the most elaborate prison escapes in South African history. Bester, with prison officials, allegedly faked his death after a body was brought into his cell. He apparently set it alight before his escape on May 3.

Bester and his girlfriend, Magudumana, were arrested in Tanzania last month after authorities confirmed that the body in the cell was not that of Bester.

Dr Nandipha Magudumana in the Bloemfontein magistrate's court on May 3 2023.
Dr Nandipha Magudumana in the Bloemfontein magistrate's court on May 3 2023.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

Makhotsa and Jansen were arrested on Monday, joining their co-accused. Collectively, they face 16 charges, including corruption, fraud, defeating the ends of justice and violation of a corpse.

The state withdrew the murder charge against Magudumana’s father, Zolile Cornelius Sekeleni, on April 17.

During Wednesday's court proceedings, state prosecutor Sello Matlhoko asked for the matter to be postponed to May 11 and 12 when Magudumana and her co-accused are expected to apply for bail.

Matsoara, Magudumana and Lipholo were expected to apply for bail on Wednesday, but Matlhoko told the court the matter would have to be postponed to a later date after the arrests of Makhotsa and Jansen. 

TimesLIVE


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