Tanzanian Police probe how Thabo Bester and Nandipha slipped through checkpoints
Bester and Magadumana were arrested two weeks ago, about 10km out of Arusha.
Thabo Bester and Nandipha Magadumana at a police station in Tanzania, shortly after their arrest. Photo: Faizel Patel/The Citizen
The Citizen has learnt that Tanzanian police are reportedly compiling an inquiry to determine how convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester and his girlfriend Nandipha Magudumana managed to slip into the country and move around without being detected.
Bester and Magadumana were arrested on Friday, 7 April, about 10km out of Arusha, after fleeing the hotel they were staying in.
They were arrested alongside a Mozambican national called Zacharia Alberto, believed to be the driver who helped them cross different borders during their escape.
According to a Tanzanian source, authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding the couple’s movements in the country and how they managed to evade the checkpoints and without their “passports” being stamped.
“Tanzanian police are compiling reports to corroborate their statements. It’s now evident that Thabo Bester and Nandipha first stayed at the White Sands Hotel in Dar-es-Salaam from 31 March to 3 April 2023, and then moved to the Kibo Palace Apartments in Arusha.
“An inquiry is open in Tanzania on how he was able to navigate through all the checkpoints, including the borders, with the fake documents and the multiple passports carried by the couple. Bester’s American passport was fake, but Pashy’s passports were real, but there were no stamps in Pashy’s passports or Nandipha’s passports,” the source said.
The White Sands Resort and Conference Centre is about 613km, a ten-hour drive with checkpoints, from the Kibo Palace Apartment’s in Arusha.
The source said, Bester and Magadumana‘s life on the run came to an end after they were spotted.
“They fled the Kibo Palace Apartments after suspicion of being recognised.”
According to the source, after Bester and Magadumana fled the hotel with their luggage in tow, they sped off in a black vehicle – identified as a public transport vehicle.
Arrest and extradition
The fugitives, who were dressed in Islamic clothing to disguise themselves, were then arrested by the Tanzanian police.
Bester and Magudumana arrived back in South Africa on Thursday, 13 April, after a delegation consisting of the Department of Justice and police officials departed for the east African country to bring the fugitives back to face trial for the crimes they committed.
Bester escaped from the G4S-run Mangaung Correctional Centre (MCC) in Bloemfontein in May 2022, after it was initially believed he had committed suicide by setting himself alight in his cell.
However, the Department of Correctional Services South Africa, which originally declared him dead, confirmed that the charred body found in his cell was not that of Bester who was convicted in 2012.