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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

High-profile ‘holding cell’? Why Dr Nandipha Magudumana is in prison hospital

Take a look at the reasons why Dr Nandipha Magudumana is kept in the hospital wing of the Kroonstad Correctional Centre.

During correctional services’ national commissioner’s visit to the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre in Pretoria last Thursday, Makgothi Thobakgale’s explained why the notorious Thabo Bester’s alleged accomplice and girlfriend, Dr Nandipha Magudumana, is kept in Kroonstad prison’s hospital wing.

The disgraced celebrity doctor was arrested in April this year in Tanzania alongside her partner, the convicted murderer and so-called Facebook rapist Thabo Bester, who is being held at Kgosi Mampuru.

During his visit, Thobakgale told the media Bester was kept in his cell which is electronically operated through the integrated security system.

ALSO READ: Thabo Bester: Suspect with ‘strong emotional ties’ to Bloemfontein granted R10k bail

The case of Dr Nandipha Magudumana and Thabo Bester

Magudumana, along with five former G4s prison officials, stand accused of helping Bester escape from Bloemfontein’s  Mangaung Correctional Centre, where he was serving a life sentence, on 3 May last year. 

It was initially believed he had committed suicide by setting himself alight in his cell.

On Friday, 14 July, Magudumana’s appeal application to overturn last month’s ruling on her extradition back to South Africa from Tanzania was heard at the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein.

The court reserved its judgment, which will be handed down next Tuesday, 18 July.

ALSO READ: ‘What an emotive argument’: Police and NPA insist Dr Nandipha’s appeal will fail

Dr Nandipha Magudumana in Kroonstad prison’s hospital wing?

Thobakgale revealed the motivation for keeping Magudumana in the Kroonstad prison’s hospital wing instead of a holding cell while the much-publicised trial is continuing in the Free State High Court.

The national commissioner told the media she is in the hospital wing because:

  • Ongoing investigations are taking place; and
  • It was a highly secure section where she doesn’t have access or interaction with other offenders
  • Magudumana is a high-profile offender who needed to be monitored at all times.  

“The interaction with the officials is limited to those who work in that section. We are ensuring that at all times she is watched and I want to repeat, as I have indicated with Mr Bester, it is also to make sure that she doesn’t harm herself,” he said.

He added that the hospital section is still a cell.

“The only difference is that the number of beds is fewer.”

He said the correctional service was also ensuring that she doesn’t come into contact with contrabands or with any item that would jeopardise the case. 

NOW READ: Three former G4S employees in Thabo Bester escape case get bail

No chains, designer wear and makeup explained

Netizens have been quick to question why the Department of Correctional Services and South African Police Services (Saps) have been allowing Magudumana to get “beauty makeover sessions” behind bars, as well as arriving at court unchained and uncuffed.

Dr Nandipha Magudumana and Thabo Bester during their virtual court appearances. Photos: Twitter Screenshots @Chriseldalewis

Bester flaunting expensive designer wear while making his virtual court appearances have also been a hot topic of discussion.

Back in May when Bester sported a black Burberry hoodie top worth thousands of rand, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola replied to Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Glynnis Breytenbach’s as to why Bester would wear designer clothes when he was already serving a sentence in prison.

At the time, Lamola said the standard operating procedure (SOP) allowed Bester to put on civilian clothes.

“The SOP outlines that a sentenced offender appearing in court on further charges must be dressed in their own private clothing which is clean and neat. In the event an inmate does not have suitable private clothes they are to be provided with release clothes.”

ALSO READ: Glynnis Breytenbach: The pitbull prosecutor who could make Chuck Norris cry

Convicted rapist and jailbreak fugitive Thabo Bester appeared before the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court on Tuesday clad in a Louis Vuitton designer sweater.
Convicted rapist and jailbreak fugitive Thabo Bester appeared virtually before the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, 20 June clad in a Louis Vuitton designer sweater. Photo: Twitter @Chriseldalewis

Thobakgale again touched on the subject of Bester’s designer outfits during his media briefing on Thursday. He took great pains to explain that said offenders were allowed to appear in civilian clothes to show respect to the court. 

“It is a matter that was taken to court and there is a judgment that indicates that.”

He added that the department looked into the matter of the R23 000 Louis Vuitton jersey Bester wore in his most recent appearance.

The explanations provided for Magudumana’s immaculate court appearances sporting makeup and elegant new hairstyles, were that there are salon services in prison, run by inmates, which are part of training programmes.

NOW READ: ‘Slaying us from behind bars’: Thabo Bester’s R23K designer jersey has Tweeps silent crying

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