The person in custody is Thabo Bester: home affairs minister Motsoaledi

Dr Aaron Motsoaledi says Bester's DNA matches his mother's

Thabo Bester appears in court after being apprehended in Tanzania in April. File photo.
Thabo Bester appears in court after being apprehended in Tanzania in April. File photo.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

Thabo Bester's identity has been confirmed after results of a DNA test carried out on his biological mother, says home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

Motsoaledi was replying to a question from DA MP Adrian Roos during a budget vote on Wednesday in parliament. 

“Bester's DNA matches that of his mother, who gave birth to him in 1986 at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. The DNA matches 99%. Why do you want us to repeat it as home affairs?” the minister asked.

He added that DNA is not the only means of identifying a person.

Motsoaledi said records from the hospital a person was born at and schools were among ways home affairs confirmed identities. 

He said documents were presented to home affairs' special tribunal, which, on the basis of those, decided whether to issue a birth certificate. Thereafter, the birth was registered as late.

“Why do you say every time we must do DNA? We don't do that. Bester was identified because of the mother who gave birth to him at Chris Hani Baragwanath in 1986. We told you the process of late registration,” he said. 

TimesLIVE previously reported that Motsoaledi confirmed Bester's identity, but said there was no record of him at the department and he “simply doesn't exist” on their database. 

Police commissioner Lt-Gen Fannie Masemola said Bester did not have a South African ID, but police were able to confirm his identity through his fingerprints and criminal record.  

Motsoaledi confirmed this, providing Bester's family history from birth until his initial arrest in 2011.  

The minister said the convict was born Thabo Bester to Meisie Maria Bester. He was the oldest of four children.  

“[Bester's] mother was never registered when she was born [in 1965]. In other words, she had no birth certificate, no ID, when she was 37 in 2002. 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 she took her aunt's surname and not the one she used when she gave birth to Bester.  “She then decided [that since she was registered, she would register her children using the aunt's surname]. [Three] suddenly became Mabaso, no longer Bester. They got their birth certificates, they got their IDs.”  

She explained that she couldn't register Bester because he had disappeared.  

Tracing his childhood, Motsoaledi confirmed Bester registered for school in 1997 and completed grade 5. His mother maintained he only completed grade 3, then known as standard 1.  



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