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Thabo Bester: The Reincarnated Escapee of South Africa

A South African man who had reportedly faked his death in 2022 to escape prison was recently found attempting to escape the country with his girlfriend.

Thabo Bester, sentenced to prison for luring and sexually abusing multiple women via Facebook, was recently discovered to have attempted to flee the country using fake passports with his girlfriend. He has now been transferred to a higher-security prison following his alleged death in 2022, which was later discovered to be a ruse.

Summary of the Case

The 37-year-old man had been convicted in 2012 for killing Nomfundo Tyulu, his former girlfriend. He was captured in 2011 and found guilty of raping and defiling two other women. He ended up being sentenced to life in prison for murder, extortion, and rape. He was expected to finish his life at Mangaung Correctional Services.

However, a few years later, Thabo was declared dead after prison guards found his burned body in his cell. Following his alleged death, numerous photographs of the convicted criminal emerged online, showing him shopping and going about his daily business. Worse, the convicted criminal was allegedly back on track, targeting women via social media and attempting to lure them into threatening situations. Speculations abounded that the accused had in fact faked his death to evade justice.

In May 2022, the case took a turning point when the criminal was found with his doctor girlfriend, Dr. Nandipha Magundumana, trying to escape South Africa and fly to Kenya. Multiple passports were found in his car.

His girlfriend was accused by the Johannesburg courts of helping him plan a jailbreak by allegedly sneaking a dead body into his cell to fake his death.

Recently, the case has gained widespread attention, bringing to light the jurisdictional issues plaguing South Africa’s legal system.

Who was the Dead Body in the  Cell?

The identity of the deceased person found in Bester's cell remains a mystery. However, what has been disclosed to the public is that the father of Dr. Nandipha Magundumana, a prison guard at Bester's correctional facility, is allegedly linked to the death of this individual.   

A Case Shedding Light on the Deficiencies of South Africa’s Police System?

The EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters), a radical left-wing party in opposition to the current president in power, denounced the escape of the convicted murderer and rapist. According to them, it “shows the incompetence of the prison administration and the endemic corruption of this sector.”

While Bester is set to be convicted for life in prison and be watched 24/7, his girlfriend, Dr. Nandipha Magundumana, is still waiting to be judged for complicity.


Edited by Adedamola Aregbesola

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