South Africa


Thabo Bester and Nandipha Magudumana arrested in Tanzania

Thabo Bester and Nandipha Magudumana arrested in Tanzania
Thabo Bester and Nandipha Magudumana arrested in Tanzania

The couple had several passports in their possession with different names.

In a hastily arranged press conference, often incoherent and with few details provided, the Ministers of Justice and Police confirmed on Saturday that Thabo Bester and Dr Nandipha Magudumana were arrested in Tanzania on Friday night.

Bester and Magudumana were arrested along with a Mozambican national who was assisting them. They were found in possession of several passports, with different names, and none of the passports had been stamped.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said that Tanzanian police had followed the fugitives as they were leaving their hotel in a black SUV. It is believed that they were on their way to crossing the Tanzanian border, presumably into Kenya.

thabo bester

Thabo Bester aka the Facebook Rapist pictured on a television screen in the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town on 2 May 2012. (Photo: Gallo Images / The Times / Shelley Christians) | Front page of the autopsy of the body that may or may not have been Thabo Bester)

They were found in the Arusha region of Tanzania, which is close to the Kenyan border.

“We have confirmed with all relevant authorities in Tanzania that the fugitives are being processed in the Tanzanian justice system,” said Justice Minister Ronald Lamola. “We are confident that we will receive maximum cooperation from our sister country Tanzania.”

Lamola said it is likely that Bester and Magudumana will be deported to South Africa as they are in Tanzania illegally. Delegates from the South African police and Department of Correctional Service will depart for Tanzania on Sunday.

Dr Nandipha Magudumana ran a scam business with Bester after he escaped from prison. Photo: Instagram

Bester escaped from the Mangaung Correctional Centre on 3 May 2022 after faking his death in a cell fire. The burnt corpse found in the cell was collected by Magudumana, but it was later confiscated by police.

Magudumana then approached the Pretoria High Court, asking for the corpse to be returned to her and claiming to be Bester’s customary law wife. Court papers filed by the South African Police Service revealed that there was no DNA match between the corpse and Bester’s biological mother, therefore, the body found in the cell was not Thabo Bester.

After escaping from prison, Bester lived with Magudumana in a rented mansion in Sandton. Bester used an ID document and driver’s licence under the name “Katlego Nkwana”. The couple operated Arum Properties together, scamming several people into paying millions for construction projects that were never completed.

The property manager of the rented mansion told GroundUp that Magudumana was behind on the rent. Days after GroundUp first reported that Bester had escaped, the mansion was vacated. It was raided by police two weeks later, on 4 April.

The Citizen published a video this week of Magudumana being confronted by a private investigator in January this year. The investigator challenges Magudumana about a R1.35-million Mercedes-Benz she allegedly drove across the Zimbabwean border after failing to meet repayment obligations. DM

First published by GroundUp.



Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Jeff Bolus says:

    What were they thinking …. Bonnie & Clyde ? 🙄

  • Robert Douglas says:

    What dynamic steps are the folk at DM taking to ensure that the stories they produce, particularly on the political front , are reaching a wider audience ? Sometimes journalism must be creative in its efforts to reach a broader audience . This dissemination of informed comment is vital in spreading awareness especially to those who do not necessarily seek it ! Thus it becomes the ennobling duty of those on board to spread the word widely . Not all folk have the privilege of access to the internet , thus relying upon the printed word, radio & word of mouth ! Seek these people too !

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    So. “ not so Bonny” and”died” have been apprehended at last! What’s the bet absolutely nothing will happen to them and they get to live out their days in Dubai …like all the rest of the politically connected thieves! Amazing that Passport control picked up neither the Guptas or these two…amazing how easy it is when you know people!

  • virginia crawford says:

    Amazing that one can cross countries without visas or passports. And yet the honest people coming in with passports and visas are treated with the maximum suspicion at OR Tambo.

    • Rory Short says:

      Yes isn’t it. Basically passports and visas etc. were invented to control the flow of honest people. Dishonest people jus regard them as inconvenience to be avoided at all costs.

  • Allan Wolman Wolman says:

    Watch this space. Will the Tanzanian authorities deport Bester and Magudumana on the grounds of illegally entering the country OR go through an extradition process? Extradition can take months and even years and get botched as with the Gupta’s. Wouldn’t this suit those high ranking authorities who were involved in this saga. What a convenient way of getting them off the hook. My money is on extradition and the true facts will remain hidden forever – The ANC will outsmart the people again

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