‘I refuse to be branded as the worst inmate in the country’, says Thabo Bester

Convicted murderer and rapist, Thabo Bester, has asked a court for the death penalty and for his co-accused to be set free. picture : Screenshot

Convicted murderer and rapist, Thabo Bester, has asked a court for the death penalty and for his co-accused to be set free. picture : Screenshot

Published Jun 5, 2024


Convicted killer and rapist Thabo Bester says his confidentiality is compromised in prison, in a rant, he asked for a death sentence in order to end the case and his suffering.

Bester, his girlfriend disgraced Dr Nandipha Magudumana and seven accused appeared in the Free State High Court on Wednesday for pre-trial hearing over Bester’s brazen escape case.

The proceedings were postponed in February due to some of the accused changing their legal representative.

The accused faces a string of charges including helping Bester fake his death in a fire to escape from the Mangaung Correctional facility which was under G4S private security in May 2022. Bester is currently incarcerated at Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Facility where he is serving a life sentence for two counts of rape and a count of murder.

On Wednesday, the court heard that Bester is getting new lawyers, his fifth legal team since his arrest.

Bester is expected to appoint new legal representatives as his previous legal team lodged an application to withdraw his attorney on record.

Bester complained that the clothes he was wearing in court had to be bought while his expensive branded clothes are kept by the correctional services.

He told the court that he refused to be branded as the ‘worst inmate in the country’.

“I am not the worst inmate in this country, I don’t have the highest counts. I have three counts but I am the most popular inmate in this country for no reason because of the political issues that I have in my personal capacity that have nothing to do with these legal proceedings,” said Bester.

He told the court that his co-accused are innocent, which is when Magudumane broke down and cried, as Bester continued with his rant.

“I feel it is unfair for these people that are sitting here, my so called co-accused to be in court when I know very well they have nothing to do with this, when I know very well that they were not present in any of these issues that are here. The people that are protected by the investigating team are clearly known. I have more than enough evidence to prove that this thing is much more than just average people that are working at G4S that just decided to release me. It is highly impossible to do that without political power with other high offices involved in this issue,” said Bester.

He said he has been treated badly and finds it difficult to consult with his legal team, citing that the telephones are bugged and the information can be used against him.

“I have been out in South Africa living my life for a year. I have not violated any human but I am treated inhumane, even in the legal fraternity your honour, it is very difficult for me to appoint an attorney.

“An attorney will cancel a brief on the basis that they don’t want to be associated with me because the media will attack them. I’ve had five councils who told me that they would love to be in my case, but they would want to be in the background fearing the media would destroy them and that the State would not give them any work. Is that how I should be treated when I am standing on trial? Is that equal to any other person that is standing in trial?” Bester asked.

He asked for a death sentence.

“You honour, I think this is a broken man. It tears me apart to see these people knowing very well that they are suffering for something they know nothing about. I request that the public, if they are so convinced and the prosecution is so convinced that I am the waste of the people’s lives, a death sentence be given as a petition… the public signs the petition then I am given a death sentence… immediately I will agree to it to end this matter,” said Bester.

He also complained that he has been up since 2am, his feet are chained and he can barely feel them.

Magudumana continued crying while Bester ranted.

The judge postponed the matter to July 24. He also requested that Bester get legal representation, ignoring his complaints.

The Star