Thabo Bester was born in SA, but not registered with Home Affairs – Motsoaledi
Bester was born on 13 June 1986, at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.
Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Nigel Sibanda
Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has revealed that convicted rapist and murderer, Thabo Bester, is not registered as a South African in the National Population Register.
Thabo Bester prison escape
Motsoaledi on Friday briefed the media in Pretoria on the identification and travel documents of Bester and his lover, Dr Nandipha Magudumana.
The so-called Facebook rapist, who lured his victims through the social media platform, was deported to South Africa on Thursday alongside Magudumana. The celebrity doctor is accused of aiding and abetting Bester’s daring and elaborate escape from prison.
‘He doesn’t have an ID’
According to Motsoaledi, home affairs officials could only establish that Bester was born on 13 June 1986, at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.
Bester does not have an identity document (ID), is not registered on the asylum seeker and refugee database, nor on the Visa database.
The Department of Home Affairs also attempted to trace Bester with an alias he had used. However, this also revealed no results.
“Thabo never registered with any home affairs at any stage. So, the only place where you could find him, as police have said, was in correctional services when he was an inmate. That’s where you’ll find his fingerprints and photo and the South African Police Service’s crime database,” said Motsoaledi.
He added: “The only other place where you could find Thabo Bester is Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital”.
Thabo Bester’s fingerprints
National Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola on Thursday told members of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services Bester did not have an ID.
Masemola said police identified Bester through his fingerprints and criminal offences he was previously convicted for in South Africa.
Motsoaledi on Friday also confirmed that the convict doesn’t have a passport issued by the Department of Home Affairs.
“He simply did not exist in our systems. So, he doesn’t have a passport at all with Home Affairs,” he said.
When Bester and Magudumana were arrested in Arusha, Tanzania, they were found with multiple passports in their possession. The duo was nabbed along with a Mozambican national who is believed to have assisted them to skip the country last month.
Motsoaledi confirmed Bester was found with an American passport in the name of Tom Williams Kelly.
“Whether real, defrauded, or forged, we can’t tell because we don’t have American systems. But he never purported or showed any passport, which he said he got from us, because we never gave him any passport,” he said.
Dr Nandipha’s passports
The minister said Magudumana is registered on the National Population Register, where her birth certificate and ID appear.
Motsoaledi said she has a valid passport that was issued by home affairs in 2017. However, the two other passports that were found in her possession belonged to celebrity doctor Mmereka Ntshani, better known as Dr Pashy. One of the passports had expired.
“When she was caught in Tanzania, she was found in possession of a passport that expired in 2007 [issued by home affairs], which she last used on 12 May 2022, coming from Bulawayo [Zimbabwe].
“She was also found with two other passports and that’s where the story of multiple passports comes in.”
The minister denied that Magudumana attempted to assume Dr Pashy’s identity when she fled South Africa.
“She never ever assumed that identity. She just carried the two passports of that identity, and she never used them anywhere.”