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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


‘Tracking Thabo Bester’ doccie racks up record views after court battle

The Johannesburg High Court dismissed Thabo Bester and Nandipha Magudumana’s application to interdict the broadcast of the documentary.


The docu-series Tracking Thabo Bester, which was at the centre of a court battle last week, has garnered the most first-day views of any documentary on the streaming channel Showmax.

The Johannesburg High Court last week dismissed Thabo Bester and Nandipha Magudumana’s application to interdict the broadcast of the Tracking Thabo Bester documentary.

Bester, dubbed “the Facebook rapist”, and his girlfriend Magudumana, each approached the high court to stop the documentary from airing.

ALSO READ: Magudumana’s father accused of sending ‘threatening email’ to Showmax documentary crew

Showmax said since the court ruling, Tracking Thabo Bester has surpassed the previous record-holder, Rosemary’s Hitlist, and was also the most-watched title across all genres over the weekend.

Judgement

In his ruling, Judge Stuart Wilson presiding over the matter said Bester and Magudumana had shown no legal basis for their application.

Wilson said Bester and Magudumana’s papers showed a “generalised anxiety” about the Showmax documentary and they failed to prove that they would suffer real prejudice if the documentary aired.

Wilson ruled that for an interdict blocking the broadcast of a programme to be granted, it needed to be shown that the broadcast will result in real trial prejudice and that this damage cannot be speculative.

“Whatever the applicants have done, and whatever appropriately be said about their conduct and character, and in this a great deal may be said, the doors of the court are open to everyone and I will not depart from that principle from this case or risk departing from it by making an adverse court order.

“For all of those reasons I make the following order: the applications are dismissed and each party will pay their own costs,” Wilson ruled.

Most searched

With the trial of South Africa’s most famous prison break scheduled to start in June 2024, Tracking Thabo Bester is a four-part investigation into Bester; why he was called the Facebook rapist and in jail originally; how a celebrity doctor fell for a convicted criminal; and who really died in Cell 35.

Bester was the most searched person in South Africa on Google in 2023, with his co-accused Magudumana just behind in fourth place, as the whole country obsessed over their stormy tale of love, murder, corruption and deception. Daily Maverick named them both ‘SA Villain of the Year.’

ALSO READ: Bester and Magudumana’s bid to stop Showmax doccie ‘Tracking Thabo Bester’ fails