Crime/12 September 2023,07:43am/ Mandla Nkosi
Dr. Nandipha Magudumana:image supplied
By Mandla Nkosi: Dr. Nandipha Magudumana, the key suspect in the high-profile case involving the escape of convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester, has been denied bail by the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court. The decision was handed down by Magistrate Estelle De Lange on Monday, who cited flight risk concerns as the primary reason for the denial.
In a strongly worded judgment, Magistrate De Lange stated, “The applicant is a flight risk, and no bail conditions will assist. I find that she didn’t satisfy the court that she should be released on bail.” This ruling comes after Magudumana’s first bail application since her arrest in April.
Magudumana and Bester were apprehended together following Bester’s audacious escape from the Mangaung Correctional Centre in May of last year. Authorities allege that Magudumana played a central role in planning and coordinating Bester’s escape, referring to her as the mastermind behind the operation.
The charges against Magudumana are extensive and grave, including fraud, violating a body, corruption, arson, assisting an inmate to escape, harbouring and concealing an escaped prisoner, and defeating the ends of justice. These charges have made the bail application fall under the Schedule 5 offence category, which imposes a higher burden of proof on the applicant.
Throughout the bail hearing, the State presented compelling evidence linking Magudumana to the alleged crimes. Prosecutors argued that her release would pose a significant risk to the public and the integrity of the justice system. Furthermore, given her alleged involvement in Bester’s escape, concerns about potential witness tampering and obstruction of justice were raised.
Magudumana’s legal team vehemently contested these assertions, claiming that she had strong community ties and a stable job as a medical practitioner. They argued that she posed no flight risk and would abide by any bail conditions imposed by the court.
However, the court ultimately sided with the State, emphasizing the seriousness of the charges and the potential harm that could result from releasing Magudumana. The decision to deny bail has left many wondering about the fate of the accused and the progress of the investigation into the wider escape plot.
As the case continues to unfold, the public remains captivated by the extraordinary circumstances surrounding Bester’s escape and the alleged involvement of Dr. Nandipha Magudumana. The denial of bail signifies a significant setback for the accused, who now faces the prospect of remaining in custody until the trial commences.
Magudumana’s legal team has indicated that they will appeal the decision, hoping to secure her release pending trial. As the legal battle intensifies, the nation awaits further developments in this sensational case that has gripped the attention of the country.