The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has confirmed that Thabo Bester, known as the ‘Facebook rapist,’ escaped from the Mangaung Correctional Centre in May, where he was serving a life sentence for rape and murder.
Anomalies in the Official Version of Events
The escape was initially believed to have been a suicide. Still, an investigation by GroundUp revealed anomalies in the official version of events, prompting the DCS to acknowledge the escape finally.
Their statement, released on Saturday, confirms some of the findings of GroundUp’s investigation, which provided evidence that Bester escaped with the help of prison personnel. This raises questions about the security measures and conditions in Mangaung Correctional Centre, a maximum security prison operated by G4S, a multinational company.
Public Outrage and Calls for Justice
The revelations have led to public outrage and a call for justice from the victims and their families. However, it is worth noting that Bester’s brutal reign of rape and violence resulted in the death of at least one victim, Nomfundo Tyhulu, and left many others scarred for life.
Business from Prison
GroundUp’s investigation also revealed that Bester could operate a business from prison and even attended a Johannesburg event via video conference, dressed in a suit. Even more shocking is that Bester and his partner, Dr. Nandipha Magudumana, were reportedly seen shopping in Woolworths in Sandton more than a month after his escape.
Police Force’s Investigation in Question
The DCS statement claims that it has left no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of Bester’s escape and has appealed to the public for assistance in capturing him. However, it remains unclear who in the police force is looking for Bester and investigating the circumstances of his escape. GroundUp has been attempting to share its information with the police, but it was told to share it with the Crimewatch line.
Contract with G4S
The statement also indicated that the 25-year contract between the DCS and G4S, expiring in June 2026, will not be renewed, but G4S had already announced in November 2019 that it would not pursue a new contract to run the Mangaung prison following a documentary that revealed human rights violations at the prison.
Call for Ethical Practices
This case highlights the need for responsible and ethical practices in all aspects of our society, including the incarceration and rehabilitation of offenders. It is essential to ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals, including those serving prison sentences.
Call for Swift Action
Let us hope that the justice system will take swift action to capture Bester and hold those responsible for his escape accountable for their actions. In addition, we must continue to advocate for sustainable and humane practices in all areas of our society to create a better future for all.