A bail of R10,000 has been granted to Zolile Sekeleni, the father of Doctor Nandipha Magudumana, who is accused of assisting in the escape of convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester from Mangaung prison in May 2022.
Image: Ziphozonke Lushaba/TimesLIVE
Sekeleni is expected to return to court on May 16th. Meanwhile, Magudumana, along with two other suspects, remains in custody and will apply for bail in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on May 3rd and 4th.
During her court appearance, Magudumana wore a light grey hoodie and a large mask to conceal her face, but was asked to remove the mask and pull back the hoodie to confirm her identity.
Who is Dr Nandipha’s father, Zolile Sekeleni?
Zolile Sekeleni was a well-regarded educator in the Eastern Cape, having worked as a senior specialist for the Department of Education before relocating to Gauteng in the latter half of the 2010s.
He moved to be closer to his children, Dr Nandipha and her brother Nkosinathi Sekeleni, who were living in Johannesburg, along with other family members. He took on contract work at the Education Department as an invigilator and potentially an exam marker shortly before the pandemic.
This is what he told his relatives in the Eastern Cape, as per his several Facebook posts. However, it has since been revealed that there may have been ulterior motives behind the 65-year-old’s move, as Dr Nandipha was allegedly enjoying an opulent lifestyle funded by Thabo Bester’s scams.
On his social media, Sekeleni frequently boasted about his involvement in property investment, despite not having a real estate profile. His daughter’s shell company, Arum Properties, which she ran with Bester, was at the center of a million-rand scam.
Zolile Sekeleni and his involvement in the Thabo Bester Saga
Last week, 65-year-old Zolile Cornelius Sekeleni and former G4S employee Senohe Matsoara, aged 39, appeared in Bloemfontein Magistrates Court. They were accused of assisting convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester in his escape from prison.
The charges against them include arson for the fire in Bester’s cell, as well as defeating the administration of justice and fraud. Additionally, they have been charged with the murder of an unknown man who was initially believed to be Bester, as his charred body was discovered in the cell. Bester had escaped from Mangaung maximum security prison, which is operated by G4S, in May of the previous year by faking his death in a fire.