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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Police arrest Zimbabwean national in Thabo Bester escape saga

Thabo Bester escaped from the Mangaung Correctional Centre after it was initially believed he died by suicide after setting himself alight

Police have arrested a 31- year-old Zimbabwean man in the Thabo Bester matter.

It is understood the suspect was handcuffed on Sunday morning in Johannesburg.

Police said more arrests are expected.


Police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe the man has been charged with assiting Bester to escape.

“At this stage, he faces a charge of assisting an inmate to escape from lawful custody. The suspect is likely to face more charges. Nine people have so far been arrested in this case.

“The suspect is expected to appear before the Bloemfontein Magistrate Court on Tuesday,13 June 2023. The possibility of police effecting more arrests cannot be ruled out,” Mathe said.

Last week national police commissioner Fanie Masemola said more arrests were expected in the Thabo Bester case.

ALSO READ: Thabo Bester: ‘Dr Nandipha said she was being held against her will’

Bester escape

Thabo Bester escaped from the Mangaung Correctional Centre after it was initially believed that he had died by suicide after setting himself alight in his cell.

An investigation later revealed that the burnt body actually belonged to Free State resident Katlego Bereng. Bereng’s body was used as a decoy during Bester’s prison escape.

G4S employees Senohe Matsoara, Buti (Motenyane John) Masukela, Tieho Frans Makhotsa and Nastassja Jansen, as well as Integriton CCTV technician, Teboho James Lipholo, have been charged for allegedly helping Bester escape.


Bester and his lover Dr Nandipha Magadumana were arrested on the 7th of April 2023 about 10km out of Arusha in Tanzania after fleeing the hotel they were staying in.

They were arrested alongside a Mozambican called Zacharia Alberto, believed to be the driver who helped them cross different borders during their escape.

During their arrest, the couple were found with several passports with multiple identities in their possesssion.

In April, a Tanzanian source told The Citizen that the convicted rapist and murderer pleaded for his life after he was arrested by authorities in Tanzania.

ALSO READ: Death of investigator in Thabo Bester escape case confirmed by police

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Dr Nandipha Police Thabo Bester Zimbabwe

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