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'Heads must roll': Maimane and EFF weigh in on Thabo Bester's confirmed escape

Times Live logo Times Live 2023/03/27 Unathi Nkanjeni
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Correctional services confirmed Bester escaped from the Mangaung Correctional Centre after it was believed he had committed suicide by setting himself alight in his cell. 

Correctional services spokesperson Singabako Nxumalo said an investigation into the incident concluded that Bester had escaped from custody on May 3 2022.

“We need a new minister of police immediately. Thabo Bester held live-streams from prison, faked his death, was living large in Sandton and the government is now asking the public to help them catch him. They showed us drones on Monday. Use that technology to catch this murderer,” said Maimane

He said justice minister Ronald Lamola and police minister Bheki Cele need to hold a press briefing on how they will protect the public.

“Heads must roll, we are not safe! Who else is out?

“The killers of Kiernan Jarryd Forbes (AKA) are still on the loose. The killers of Cloete Murray and Thomas Murray are still on the loose. Thabo Bester is on the loose, a convicted rapist and murderer. We are living in a Nkabi nation under this administration,” Maimane said. 

The EFF said Bester's escape and the confirmation of his death by correctional services without having conducted the necessary DNA tests was testament to the incompetence of the correctional services system.

“Bester's death through suicide was staged as the deceased body found in his cell was that of another individual, while he has been on the loose for months.

“It is even more disturbing that Bester was able to run a media company during his tenure in prison, possibly amassing the money necessary to orchestrate his fake death, escape from prison and have a life outside prison without it ever being discovered that he had indeed escaped,” said the party.

The EFF said the escape undoubtedly endangered the lives of women in South Africa and would further dent the little confidence victims and survivors of gender-based violence had in the justice system.

“We call for a massive manhunt to be conducted by the South African Police Service , in conjunction with intelligence services, to track and apprehend Thabo Bester. Furthermore, all of those who were employed at Mangaung Correctional Centre during the period of Bester's imprisonment and his escape must immediately be brought in for questioning,” said the EFF.

“This despicable occurrence must be laid directly at the doorstep of the minister of correctional services, who has been too preoccupied with factional activity of his political party to ensure that there is order in the prisons of South Africa and has failed to uproot corruption which is at the centre of Bester's escape.”

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