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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

WATCH: Nothing wrong with Thabo Bester having personal laptop in prison, says G4S

G4S, the security company from the prison where convicted murderer and rapist Thabo Bester escaped has been grilled in Parliament.

Mangaung Correctional Centre (MCC) head Joseph Monyante has revealed that among the possessions discovered by police in convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester‘s torched cell was an authorised laptop and an unauthorised cellphone.

A day later, prison staff “raised concerns in respect of a smell of petrol emanating from the deceased’s possessions”.

Watch Mangaung Correctional Centre reveal that Thabo Bester had access to electronics in his cell

Bester escape

Bester escaped from the Mangaung Correctional Centre on 3 May 2022, after it was initially believed he had committed suicide by setting himself alight in his cell.

However, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), which initially declared him dead, confirmed that the charred body found in his cell was not Bester, who was convicted in 2012.

Bester had been alive and at large for the last nine months.

Parliamentary inquiry

G4S, the security company from the prison where Bester escaped from, has been grilled by MP’s in Parliament about the events leading up to the Facebook rapist’s escape.

The presentation detailing events leading up to Bester’s escape was delivered by G4S Director Cobus Groenewould, Mangaung Correctional Centre (MCC) Director Joseph Monyante and Audit and Risk Director Gert Byleveld.

Groenewoud’s presentation looked into three investigations commissioned into Bester’s escape including Saps criminal investigation, Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) independent investigation into an unnatural death and the MCC’s compliance investigation.

ALSO READ: G4S insists Mangaung ‘one of most secure’ SA prisons, despite Thabo Bester blunders

Bester personal laptop

African National Congress (ANC) MP Xola Nqola said allowing Bester to have a personal laptop may have enabled him to commit crime while in prison.

Nqola claims that there are report that Bester was running a multi-million rand company from his cell and asked what the purpose was of Bester’s authorised laptop.

Groenewoud, who took over answering the question from Monyante, said Bester had a laptop because he was studying.

“Inmates who are registered students have the right and I believe its in terms of court cases that the DSC lost in 2015 and 2018, they have the right if they are registered with a formal institution of learning to have access to a laptop and for that reason inmate Bester had access to that laptop.”

Registered student

Monyante said Bester was registered to Damelin.

“The laptop belonged to Bester.”

Nqola asks how Bester was allowed to have a personal laptop – to his knowledge, student inmates use Department of Correctional Services (DCS) issued laptops.

“Why was he allowed to have a personal laptop when he ran the risk of using it as a tool to commit his crimes?” asked Nqola

However, G4S insisted that he qualified to have a personal laptop.


Eerlier, Groenewoud said they could not come to Parliament before as they would have been “legally barred”.

“We have the greatest respect for this committee and sincerely regret that we were not in a position to attend until now.  

“We are grateful to the committee for the summons we received on 7 April 2023, which provide us with the opportunity for meaningful and lawful participation in today’s meeting,” he said.

ALSO READ: WATCH LIVE: G4S explains Thabo Bestor’s prison escape blunder to Parliament

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