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Department of Correctional Services confirms Thabo Bester is still alive, now they are investigating how he escaped custody

Pretoria News logo Pretoria News 2023/03/27 Se-Anne Rall

Durban - Following weeks of speculation and numerous articles about his shenanigans, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) today confirmed that Thabo Bester also known as the “Facebook rapist” is still alive. The DCS further confirmed Bester’s escape from custody on May 3, 2022.

“No stone will be left unturned in getting to the bottom of Thabo Bester's escape and there will be serious consequences for any party involved,” said DCS spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo.

He said that last year, they received a report from Mangaung Correctional Centre, a public-private partnership (PPP) facility contracted to Bloemfontein Correctional Contracts, operated by G4S, indicating that offender Thabo Bester committed suicide by setting himself alight in his cell in the early hours of the morning.

“This incident attracted media attention and it was confirmed to various media houses as received from G4S. Recorded as an unnatural death, the Standard Operating Procedures dictated that an investigation be launched and the incident be reported to police.

“In line with the concession contract, two officials from the DCS were appointed by the Controller (an official of DCS) to conduct an investigation into the incident.

“DCS is now in a position to bring forth findings of its investigation on Thabo Bester, an offender sentenced to life and 75 years imprisonment, running concurrently. It has to be stated that this statement only provides an account from DCS, as SAPS is still seized with the matter and conducting its own investigation,” Nxumalo said.

He said a post mortem conducted on the body that burnt beyond recognition in Cell 35 at Mangaung Correctional Centre, revealed that it was an adult male with blunt force trauma to his head.

“The post mortem report further revealed that there were no signs of smoke inhalation in the body. Furthermore, it uncovered that the pancreas and the spleen in the body were in the early stages of decomposition. Over and above that, the DNA sequencing with a person identified to be the mother of Bester failed to indicate a common ancestor, or a match,” Nxumalo said.

He said that based on the information, a plausible conclusion will mean that the said body referred to above is not that of Thabo Bester.

“This is the basis upon which the DCS investigation report concluded that Bester escaped from lawful custody on May 3, 2022. Critical at this stage is for Thabo Bester to be found. DCS is appealing to the public to assist with any information that may lead to the re-arrest of Bester. Such information should be provided to the nearest police station or a correctional services facility,” the DCS said.

Nxumalo explained that the department has signed an agreement with the contractor, Bloemfontein Correctional Contracts to design, construct, operate and maintain a correctional centre for 2 928 bed spaces, just outside Bloemfontein for a contract period of 25 years.

“This contract commenced with operations on July 1, 2001, ending on June 30, 2026. DCS has no intention of extending the contract beyond the expiry date.

“DCS has a duty of monitoring the daily operations at the facility to ensure that the contractor complies with the Conditions of the Concession Contract and Schedules,” Nxumalo said.

The department’s action comes after a woman posted photographs on social media alleging that Bester had been spotted at a Gauteng shopping centre, earlier this month. This was followed by various media articles claiming that Bester had been living the high life in Sandton and even owned a media events company.


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