‘If You Have Money, You Will Get Everything’: Thabo Bester Tells Cellmate

A former Mangaung Correctional Centre convict who shared a cell with infamous murderer and rapist Thabo Bester has said that he was usually carrying money.

On Monday, April 17, the prisoner told Carte Blanche that the man known as the “Facebook rapist” did not hide his intention to flee.

Bester, according to an unknown prisoner referred to as Inmate X for fear of victimization, would take rolls of money with him.

“He was a very quiet guy, but you could see that he has everything. He was carrying a roll of money. He said ‘if you have money, you will get everything’,” Inmate X said.

Three days before his brazen escape, Bester was moved into solitary confinement (cell 35) — a cell that was located in a camera blind spot.

“He said to me, ‘I’m just here. But soon, I’ll be gone’,” says Inmate X.

On 3 May, Three days after being moved, they heard an explosion coming from Bester’s cell at 02:00. Almost 30 minutes later, they heard an even louder explosion.

Inmate X also revealed that after flagging Bester’s “death” as an escape, he was victimised, his identity was revealed, and he was moved to another prison.

According to Bester’s cellmate, a large wooden box had arrived the day before the explosion.

“This wooden kist was taken from the Buckie to the kitchen. In the morning, they then saw someone going from the kitchen… they went out but they didn’t use the usual entrance. They used the emergency door , which is just in front of cell 35 where Bester was staying,” Inmate X says.

In March this year, Ground Up revealed that it was not Bester’s body that was charred in the explosion. The publication also reported that fter the fire, his accomplice Dr Nandipha Magudumana claimed “Bester’s charred body” saying she is his “customary wife”.

On 9 April, Sunday Times reported that Dr Nandipha had allegedly stolen three unidentified bodies from Free State mortuaries last year. One of the bodies was used as the decoy in Bester’s successful escape. This was revealed two days after she and Bester were arrested on the run in Tanzania.

After arriving in South Africa, Bester was detained at the Kgosi Mampuru II C-max prison, where he is still being kept until his court appearance on 16 May after his case was postponed last Thursday.

Dr Nandipha, his love interest; Senohe Matsoara, a former G4S employee; and Tebogo Lipholo, an Integritron CCTV technician, were denied bail on 17 April in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on allegations of arson, murder, defeating the ends of justice, and aiding and abetting. They are scheduled to appear in court on May 3 and 4.

Another twist in the jail escape tale is the arrest of Dr. Nandipha’s father, Zolile Cornelius Sekeleni, in connection with the breakout. Sekeleni was granted R10,000 and is now facing allegations of assisting a fugitive, undermining the ends of justice, and fraud. The murder and arson accusations against him were dropped.

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