Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Saps and NPA deny Magudumana’s claims of unlawful arrest, arguing her application is abuse of court process

Saps and the NPA want Magudumana's application to be struck from the court roll with costs.

The Free State High Court in Bloemfontein has heard that Dr Nandipha Magudumana’s urgent application to declare her arrest in Tanzania and subsequent deportation to South Africa as unlawful and an abuse of the court process.

Thabo Bester prison escape

Advocate Neil Snellenburg, the lawyer for the South African Police Service (Saps) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the Free State, argued on Thursday that Magudumana’s application should be struck off the court roll because the matter is not urgent.

Magudumana and her alleged boyfriend – convicted rapist and murderer, Thabo Bester – were apprehended in the city of Arusha by Tanzanian authorities. They had fled the country after it was discovered that Bester had managed to escape from the Mangaung Correctional Centre in May last year after he faked his death.

ALSO READ: Court hears Magudumana’s deportation to SA was a ‘grand disguised extradition’

The Department of Home Affairs, the DPP, and Saps are opposing her application and have jointly accused the aesthetics doctor of providing false information about the events surrounding her arrest after she claimed that she was “abducted” and blindfolded during her detention.

Urgency of application

Advocate Snellenburg argued that Magudumana’s application should be struck from the court roll and that she should be ordered to pay the costs of the application.

He said that Magudumana had not made a case for the urgency of her application, and that she had not complied with the court rules in terms of filing an urgent court application.

RELATED: Home Affairs, NPA and Saps accuse Magudumana of lying about Tanzania arrest

Snellenburg asserted that she had sufficient time to contest her arrest after being deported to South Africa on 13 April and before she was charged with allegedly assisting an inmate to escape from prison.

“It is well established that an applicant that approaches the court on an urgent basis must determine how urgent the matter is and then the deviation sought must be commensurate with the degree of urgency.

“It may not inconvenience the respondents more than necessary… None of the established practices pertaining to urgent applications have been complied with by the applicant,” he argued.

Reasonable timeframes

According to Snellenburg, if Magudumana had taken the initiative to approach the high court shortly after her arrival in South Africa, the respondents would have acknowledged the urgency of her application.

“That argument might have had some force had the applicant approached this court within a few days after 13 April. It does not hold water for an applicant that is quite content from 13 April to be in detention.

“And still after seeing her attorney on 3 May, on her version, she still waits 60 days and then issues an application without even attempting to incorporate in the notice of motion reasonable timeframes so that deviation from the prescribed rules is commensurate with the degree of urgency. This is an abuse of process.”

READ: Nandipha Magudumana wants her arrest in Tanzania declared ‘wrongful and unlawful’

Advocate Snellenburg also argued that there was nothing untoward about a South African delegation, which included Saps and Department of Home Affairs officials, going to Tanzania.

He argued that it was essential for the delegation to be aware of the identities of the people who were arrested in the East African country.

Snellenburg further rejected Magudumana’s assertions of being abducted in Tanzania, stating that she had actually expressed a desire to South African authorities to return to the country and had not objected to her deportation.

“She was hitching a ride and she wanted to come back [to SA]. She acquiesced to getting in that plan and to flying back to SA.”

Judgment on Magudumana’s application will be handed down on Monday.

NOW READ: Court denies bail to 4 of 5 accused in Thabo Bester case

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits