Avatar photo

By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

WATCH: Cele says cops close to catching Thabo Bester amid speculation he’s in another country

Thabo Bester escaped from the Mangaung Prison after it was initially believed he committed suicide.

Police Minister Bheki Cele has assured South Africans that police are getting “very close” to catching Thabo Bester.

Thabo Bester escape

Bester, dubbed the “Facebook rapist” for his crimes, escaped from the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein in May 2022 after it was initially believed he had committed suicide by setting himself alight in his cell.

However, an investigation by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), which originally declared him dead, confirmed that the charred body found in his cell was not that of the convicted murderer and rapist.

Watch: Police minister Bheki Cele says they’re close to catching Bester:

Bester has in fact been alive and at large for the last nine months.

ALSO READ: Thabo Bester: Private security firm offers R100 000 reward for information


Cele told eNCA’s JJ Tabane that there may be a breakthrough soon in the Bester case.

“We will find Bester, we are getting good news. I had people yesterday trying to ridicule police when we raided his house.

“Sometimes, people don’t understand investigations, things, clues that we get there,” Cele said.

Bester in another African country?

Asked if he could confirm if Bester was in another country, Cele said:  “Not me, maybe the home affairs and Acsa can confirm that one.

“What I know is I am trying to find Bester,” Cele said.

Cele’s comments come as The Citizen revealed new details on Wednesday that point to a plan by Bester and to skip the country via the Zimbabwean border.

Video footage obtained by The Citizen shows one half of South Africa’s most wanted couple, Dr Nandipha Magudumana, admitting to defaulting on a luxury car when confronted by a private investigator who traced it to a neighbouring country.

The footage was taken two months ago before it emerged that Bester had escaped from prison.

In it, the deregistered doctor mentions a partner responsible for the agreement which saw her left with hundreds of thousands of debt, but refuses to name the person or divulge details about the nature of their relationship.

Magudumana reportedly purchased a luxury vehicle last year, drove it across the Zimbabwean border, and abandoned it there.

Interviews with both the dealership owner and private investigators have produced no explanation around the doctor’s mysterious border crossing.

There is, however, speculation that the trip may have been part of a possible border escape plan for Bester.

Additional reporting by Cornelia Le Roux

NOW READ: EXCLUSIVE: Thabo Bester’s Dr Nandipha and the abandoned Merc at Zim border [watch]

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits