Convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester, was re-arrested in Tanzania late on Friday night.
This was confirmed by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola during a press briefing in Pretoria on Saturday.
The presser also included Lamola’s colleague in cabinet, Police Minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Fanie Masemola.
Lamola said the convicted murderer was apprehended together with his ‘accomplices’, socialite-doctor Nandipha Magudumana and a Mozambican national who was “assisting them”.
“An official delegation from South Africa comprising senior officials from the police, justice and correctional services will depart for Tanzania tomorrow. They will be received and assisted by the office the High Commissioner in Tanzania,” said
“We are confident that we will receive maximum cooperation from our sister nation of Tanzania, to assist us to bring these fugitives to justice. The level cooperation has been exemplary thus far,” Lamola continued.
Cele said the suspects were captured in Arusha, Tanzania, with “multiple passports in their possession”.
“None of the passports were stamped,” he said.
Cele said Bester and his so-called accomplices were arrested 10 kilometres away from the Kenyan border.
“It looks like they were heading into another country,” he said.
Bester became widely known as the ‘Facebook rapist’ after it emerged that he used the social media platform to lure attractive young women with promises of helping them advance their careers in modelling and entertainment.
But he would rape, assault and rob them.
He pleaded guilty to two charges of rape and one of murder in separate trials in 2011 and 2012 and was sentenced to an effective life sentence.
Bester and Magudumana have been on the run since the news of his prison escape was revealed by GroundUp last month.
It was initially believed that Bester had died during a fire at the Mangaung maximum-security prison in May 2022.
Magudumana claimed the charred bodily remains as his ‘customary wife’, according to Cele.
The State has since confirmed that the body that was collected by the Magudumana was not that of Bester.
Cele said the State was yet to ascertain the identity of the deceased.
A joint statement by the police and justice ministries on Saturday read: “A case of murder is under investigation following the outcome of the DNA analysis that confirmed that the body of the deceased which was found, was not of Thabo Bester”.
“The autopsy report went on to further reveal that the deceased had died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, and was already dead, prior to the arson incident.