Convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester runs construction scam

2 mins read
Thabo Bester runs

Thabo Bester is a convicted murderer and rapist who escaped jail on May 3, 2022. Since then, he and his partner, the famous doctor Nandipha Magudumana, have been running a scam-building company out of Johannesburg.

Arum Properties convinces clients to invest in construction projects

The company “Arum Properties” got people to pay millions of rands for building projects that were never finished. Clients of Arum Properties told GroundUp that soon after paying their fees; they realized something was wrong. After getting out of jail, Bester used “TK Nkwana” as the name on his ID and driver’s license.

Clients unaware of dealing with Bester

Some people who encountered Arum Properties have come forward, saying they had no idea they were dealing with Thabo Bester. Bester was introduced to them, mainly by Magudumana herself, and went by the name of “TK Nkwana.”

Slow administrative processes and minor work done

Clients who worked with Arum Properties say they didn’t get what they paid for. While Magudumana was busy with her medical business, “TK” took care of day-to-day tasks. Most of the time, people met with “TK” in public places during the day. Clients said that the company’s secretarial work could have been faster and always delayed. The actual building work was done by subcontractors, who only did a little.

Difficult to work with “TK”

People who talked to GroundUp said that “TK” was hard to work with and got angry when clients asked for more information about budgets and plans. He also made it hard to contact him because he kept changing his cell phone number.

Company does not exist on CIPC

GroundUp has seen Arum Properties and clients sign contracts. “Arum Properties (Pty) Ltd” is written on the papers, but the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) database does not list this company. “Arum Holdings (Pty) Ltd” is an honest company, and Magudumana is the only person in charge. The Arum Properties website needs to be fixed, but an old version from 2021 shows a collection of building projects. The pictures were taken from other places on the web.

Magudumana and Bester flee after being discovered

After GroundUp reported that Bester was alive, Magudumana and Bester fled their rented mansion in Sandton. Magudumana and Bester convinced people to pay millions of rands for construction projects, which were never delivered. Instead, the couple has been living a luxurious life, with a watch worth R1.5-million found on a bedside table after they vacated the house.

Clients come forward with their experiences

Clients of Arum Properties have come forward, detailing their experiences with the company. For example, the contracts mention a company that does not exist, and the construction work was outsourced to subcontractors. In addition, clients said that administrative processes at the company were sluggish, and “TK” was challenging to work with, especially when clients asked for clarity on budgets and schedules.

Departments approached for comment

It needs to be made clear how many people the scam hurt. We need to find out where Magudumana and Bester are right now. The South African Police Service, the Gauteng Department of Transport, and the Department of Home Affairs have all been asked for comments, but as of the time of publishing, they have yet to reply.

This is an ongoing story, and GroundUp will provide updates as more information becomes available.

Journalist and Cultural Enthusiast. Oliver is an inquisitive, open-minded, and culturally curious journalist who has a deep appreciation for Cape Town's diverse arts and entertainment scene. As a local, he has an extensive network of contacts within the city's cultural institutions, allowing him to stay abreast of the latest events and happenings.

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