The South African Police Service (SAPS) has arrested a Zimbabwean national in Johannesburg in connection with the escape from prison of Thabo Buster from Mangaung Prison.
This brings the total number of suspects arrested in connection to the prison break to nine.
The 31-year-old suspect is accused of assisting Bester also known as the “Facebook Rapist” to escape from lawful custody, and is expected to face additional charges.
The national police spokesperson, Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, has confirmed that investigations into the matter are ongoing and further arrests are possible. Mathe said:
At this stage, he faces a charge of assisting an inmate to escape from lawful custody. The suspect is likely to face more charges.
The police commissioner, General Fannie Masemola, has also expressed similar sentiments, stating that the investigation is wide and involves numerous individuals. The Insider quotes Masemola as saying:
There are no other arrests. But we are still investigating the matter, and yes we expect there will be further arrests in the matter because there are quite a lot of people that are involved in this investigations. It is quite a wide investigation and we are busy with that.
Bester, a convicted serial rapist and murderer, had successfully escaped from the MCC in May 2022 by faking his death. His accomplices, who have already appeared in court, include Nandipha Magudumana, Cornelius Sekeleni, Senohe Matsoara, Teboho Lipho, Tieho Frans Makhotsa, and Nastassja Jansen. Jansen and Sekeleni are currently out on bail, and all accused are due back in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on 25 June.
Thabo Bester and Nandipha Magudumana, were arrested in Arusha, Tanzania, in April this year while carrying multiple passports with no stamps. They were caught near the Kenyan border and appeared to be heading into another country.
Bester used Facebook to lure young women with promises of modelling and entertainment careers, only to rape, assault, and rob them. He was convicted of two rape charges and one murder charge in separate trials in 2011 and 2012 and received an effective life sentence. Bester and Magudumana had been on the run since Bester’s escape from prison. He faked his death and Magudumana, a female doctor, claimed the burned body as his “customary wife,” but it was later confirmed that the body collected by Magudumana was not Bester’s.