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By Narissa Subramoney

Deputy digital news editor

Thabo Bester: Inmates were ordered to clean out fire-ravaged prison cell

On the day of his 'death', Bester was seen with 'a lot of cash' on his prison bed. He had made a huge amount of money during his incarceration.

Mangaung Correctional Services inmates were ordered to clean out convicted murderer and Facebook rapist Thabo Bester‘s fire-ravaged cell with hot water after a body was burnt there and he escaped.

Retired Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron – who heads Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) is currently answering questions before Parliament’s inquiry into last year’s brazen prison escape involving Bester and his ‘customary wife’ Dr Nandipha Magudumana.

The couple was arrested in Tanzania on Wednesday, and flown back to South Africa in the early hours of Thursday morning.

ALSO READ: JICS’ Edwin Cameron ‘feels complicit in the insufficient response’ on Thabo Bester

Bester’s was a ‘powerful figure’ in prison

The African National Congress‘ Anthea Ramolobeng told Cameron that she had information stating Bester was involved in prison trade.

Cameron confirmed that on the day of his ‘death’, Bester was seen with ‘a lot of cash’ on his prison bed and that he had made a huge amount of money during his incarceration.

The retired judge was at pains to says that JICS had not been notified when Bester was moved to a single cell, despite G4S on Wednesday telling MP’s that Bester’s transfer was above board.

ALSO READ: Government knew Thabo Bester had escaped, but did nothing

G4S marriage must end

When ANC MP Nomathemba Maseko-Jele asked if the marriage between the Department of Correctional Services and G4S must end, Cameron responded the Mangaung prison breeches were outrageous.

Referring to a video recording system, which was unplugged for the duration of the prison break, Cameron said, “I do think DCS trusted G4S… its ludicrous to have a system that works, except when you need it”.

Cameron also revealed that Magudumana lied at least ten times in her affidavit to get access to the body found in Bester’s cell.

“These lies included what she said about her relationship with Bester… police should have been asked to investigate her for perjury over this.”

ALSO READ: Thabo Bester prison escape: Two suspects, including Dr Nandipha’s father, due in court

The governing party’s Richard Dyantyi asked Cameron to respond to G4S’s claims that the Manaung Correctional Centre was “brilliantly run” and that the Bester escape was an “outlier”.

JICS had last visited the facility in June 2021, ten months before the escape occurred, but at the time there was none of the “symptomatic horrors” the body had seen in other facilities.

“Bester’s escape would not have been possible without significant degradation within the prison. From a structural point of view, Mangaung is a model prison.

“Beneath that, there is functionality which is rotten… Thabo Bester wasn’t a rare event, a black swan, an untoward experience, it is symptomatic of a degradation of institutional authority… and management control.”

The hearing continues.

NOW WATCH: ‘Thabo Bester will be guarded by highly trained officers’

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