Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Cele says DNA ‘doesn’t seem to match’ Facebook rapist as Correctional Services remains mum

'It might be correct to say that somebody is out there,' says Police Minister Bheki Cele.

Police Minister Bheki Cele says DNA results have seemingly confirmed that the body found in a prison cell does not match that of Facebook rapist, Thabo Bester.

In May last year, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) announced that Bester had been found dead in his cell at the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein, Free State, after a fire broke out.

However, it has since emerged that Bester, who was convicted in 2012 for rape and murder, could be alive.

According to GroundUp, Bester was spotted at a Woolworths in Sandton City nearly two months after his reported death in prison.

It is alleged that the body found found in his prison cell was dead before the fire broke out.

‘Some indications’

Speaking to the media on Friday, Cele said he was aware of reports that Bester could be alive and out of prison.

He said he will discuss the matter with Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola.

“We have the head of intelligence in the [Gauteng] province and the detectives, they are working on the matter. Already they are finding some indications, including that the DNA does not confirm that’s the same person.

ALSO READ: Man resembling Facebook rapist spotted in Sandton, two months after his supposed death in prison fire

“It looks like the DNA doesn’t confirm that the person that was found dead there is the same person. So it might be correct to say that somebody is out there; that’s why the police are investigating. The police have started to unleash themselves to trying to find that person,” Cele said.

Asked whether a warrant of arrest was issued for Bester, the minister said: “The police are doing investigations and, as I said, there are steps that have already been taken.

“One step taken is that it looks like the DNA confirms the person who died there is not the real person that you expect. The police are aware… they are on the tracks, chasing and trying to find that person again.”

‘Unnatural death cases’

Meanwhile, the Correctional Services Department could not confirm whether Bester was alive or not.

“DCS has been inundated with media enquiries on the matter and we have clearly stated that the investigation is ongoing and there are no new developments.

“Almost all media enquiries received were relying heavily on the so-called leaks from unidentified sources. It would be irresponsible for DCS to respond on unconfirmed or unofficial reports,” the department’s spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said in a statement on Friday.

READ MORE: Did the Facebook rapist die in his cell or did he escape from prison?

Nxumalo insisted that the investigation on Bester’s death has not been concluded and, therefore, the autopsy report has not been tabled before the department.

“A burnt body meant that this case could not be classified as a natural death, hence, an investigation needed to be undertaken in order to determine the cause of death. This is a standard practice for all unnatural death cases in correctional facilities.

“An unnatural death will also mean that the South African Police Service [Saps] needed to be involved in order to conduct an investigation, should there be foul play or a criminal element involved.”

For more news your way

Download our app and read this and other great stories on the move. Available for Android and iOS.

For more news your way

Download our app and read this and other great stories on the move. Available for Android and iOS.