Thabo Bester extradited to South Africa: ‘Malawi should give us Bushiri’

Dr Nandipha Magundumana

Tanzania has extradited to South Africa convicted rapist and murderer, Thabo Bester, and his alleged partner-in-crime, Dr Nandipha Magudumana.

The extradition, concluded within a week, has ignited calls in South Africa for Malawi to follow in the footsteps of Tanzania by handing over Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary to face money laundering, fraud and corruption charges.

Thabo Bester used Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms to lure women who he raped. he was convicted to life with the possibility of parole after serving 25 years. He is informally known as the Facebook rapist.

Prison Break: Thabo Bester stages escape

Dr Nandipha Magundumana
Dr Nandipha mugshot

But in May 2022, Thabo Bester staged a ‘successful’ prison break at Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein. He faked “suicide by setting himself alight in his cell”.

However, a comprehensive investigation by GroundUp discovered evidence suggesting that Thabo Bester did not die in the fire but used it as cover for his prison break.

A post-mortem conducted on the body found in the cell believed to be Thabo Bester revealed that the person was dead before the fire broke out.

The notorious criminal was residing in Sandton where he was running another fraudulent business to con people. Through his business, he continued to target other young women.

Government only confirmed that Thabo Bester had escaped from prison in March this year after GroundUp had published photographs of the rapist and his wife, Dr Nandipha Magudumana, shopping in Sandton last June.

Fugitives: Bring back Bushiri

On 7 April 2023, Thabo Bester and Dr Nandipha Magudumana were arrested in Tanzania. The fugitives landed at Lanseria Airport in South Africa at 04:00 this morning.

Their extradition has taken less than a week to finalise, igniting calls in South Africa for Malawi to emulate Tanzania by extraditing Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Prophetess Mary Bushiri who are wanted to face charges of fraud and money laundering.

“Can South Africa Police use the same energy their used in bringing Thabo Bester & Dr Nandipha from Tanzania to bring crooked Bushiri back to South Africa so that he can face AmaPiano. Bushiri destroyed many lives in South Africa. Bushiri has 3 pending warrants of arrest for rape” tweeted @AdvoBarryRoux.

“SAPS will now hold press briefings, irritating us as if they made the arrest They can’t even arrest criminals roaming the streets. Thabo Bester escaped under their watch. Nandipha and Bester fled the country without being detected, like Bushiri. SA law enforcement is a JOKE” tweeted @_AfricanSoil.

“If its wasn’t for us ordinary SAs who hyped this story up, and made sure that we pressurise those in power. These criminals would be free even today. Job weldone to SAs. No Bushiri must be next! #DrNandiphaMagudumana kgosi Mampuru MacG chriselder Woolworths” @madaliso_muyeye wrote on Twitter.

“So why Bushiri taking so long?” @lesiba_lj queried.

Following the extradition of the two fugitives, Ministers responsible for Justice and Correctional Services and Police Ronald Lamola and Bheki Cele said South Africa “will endeavour to emulate this level of co-operation with other countries in areas of mutual legal assistance and related matters”.

The two ministers did not mention the Bushiris in the statement. But thanked “the government of Tanzania for its unequivocal co-operation in the matter which relates to the arrest and process of
deportation of Thabo Bester and Dr Nandipha Magdumana”.

Bushiri is legally fighting his extradition as the Malawi High Court requested South Africa to send officials to make their case.

Dr Nandipha charged

Magudumana is under arresting pending her first court appearance. She will reportedly face charges of alleged murder, violation of bodies, fraud, and aiding and abetting Thabo Bester’s escape.

Her partner and accomplice, Thabo Bester, is at has been readmitted into the Kgosi Mampuru Central Maximum correctional facility in Pretoria.