South Africa

PRESIDENTIAL BRIEFING 

Ramaphosa disturbed by Thabo Bester saga, but encouraged by law enforcement’s rapid response – spokesperson Magwenya

Ramaphosa disturbed by Thabo Bester saga, but encouraged by law enforcement’s rapid response – spokesperson Magwenya
President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, addresses media at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, 12 April 2023. (Photo: GCIS)

Speaking about the escape of the ‘Facebook rapist’, presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said the President is also ‘encouraged’ by law enforcement responses to the matter. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa is fully aware of the Thabo Bester situation, confirmed his spokesperson Vincent Magwenya during a media briefing on Wednesday, 12 April. 

Magwenya addressed the media on the President’s plans for the week but questions were asked by journalists about the ongoing situation surrounding convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester, who faked his own death and escaped from the Mangaung Correctional Centre in May 2022. 

Bester and his associate, Nandipha Magudumana were arrested in Tanzania on Friday, 7 April 2023, with several passports in their possession. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Thabo Bester and Nandipha Magudumana arrested in Tanzania

Magwenya said Ramaphosa feels that the Bester situation should not have happened or “shouldn’t be allowed to happen”. However, Magwenya added that the President was “equally encouraged” by law enforcement agencies’ “rapid” response.

Ramaphosa was “confident that people will be held accountable” for the situation, said Magwenya. However, on the matter of when Bester and Magudumana would be extradited from Tanzania, Magwenya stressed that Tanzania was dealing with it and the process would be allowed to run its course “and the rest will follow”.

The saga continued in Parliament on Wednesday during a marathon meeting with the management of the Manguang prison and private prisons company G4S. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Damning timeline — Government knew of Thabo Bester escape as early as October 2022 but failed to act

President’s agenda for the week 

During the briefing, Magwenya spoke of President Ramaphosa’s plans for the week. 

On Thursday, the President will open and address the South African Investment Conference. Magwenya said Ramaphosa would reflect on the goal he set in April 2018 at the first conference of attracting R1.2-trillion in investment, as well as the progress achieved thus far. 

“President Ramaphosa will also brief investors on the steps that are being taken by the government in addressing the visa, transport and logistics, crime and corruption, and energy challenges,” he said. 

Also confirmed for the week was Ramaphosa’s keynote address at the African Continental Free Trade Area Business Forum 2023 in Cape Town on 16 April. The forum is intended to raise awareness about potential investment and trade opportunities that the African market presents in labour-intensive and industrial sectors such as agriculture, automotive, pharmaceuticals, transport, and logistics. DM

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