Cape Town — The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed on Thursday that it withdrew a murder charge against Thabo Bester, Dr Nandipha Magudumana, and their co-accused.
TimesLIVE reported that Bester, Magudumana, her father Zolile Cornelius Sekeleni, Senohe Matsoara, Teboho Lipholo, Buty Masemola, Tieho Makhotsa and Nastassja Jansen also faced other charges, including fraud, aiding and abetting a convict to escape custody, corruption and defeating the ends of justice.
“The NPA confirms it will no longer prefer a charge of murder against the accused in the Thabo Bester case after further evidence was presented by the investigating team.
“At this early stage, prosecutors can only bring charges based on the evidence presented by the investigators,” NPA spokesperson Phaladi Shuping was quoted as saying.
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During Bester’s escape from a maximum facility in Mangaung a year ago, he faked his death by pretending to burn himself.
However, it was found that the body that had been burned in his cell was 32-year-old Katlego Bereng-Mpholo.
“The current investigation reveals that there was a post-mortem report that was performed on the body of the unidentified deceased person found in cell 35 at Mangaung Correctional Centre and the cause of death was registered as unnatural death,” IOL quoted Shuping as saying.
“At this stage, there is insufficient evidence for the NPA to pursue a charge of murder hence the NPA has taken a decision not to prefer a charge of murder against the accused pending further investigation.
“The NPA does not conduct investigations and therefore has to engage with the SAPS to ensure that all the required evidence is included in the docket.”
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Meanwhile, Police Minister Bheki Cele said police were close to finding the “sharks” who helped convicted murderer and “Facebook rapist” Bester to escape from the Mangaung Correctional Centre.
Cele’s remarks came following the arrest of two more former G4S employees.
The pair, Tieho Frans Makhotsa and Nastassja Jansen, were arrested in Bloemfontein on Monday.
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Compiled by Junaid Benjamin