Tuesday, June 6, 2023

South Africa: Prison Security Company Insists ‘Facebook Rapist’ Thabo Bester Died in Fire

Cape Town — G4S, the security company responsible for managing the privately run Mangaung Correctional Centre from which Thabo escaped, said that the convicted rapist died in his prison cell despite reports of his escape, TimesLive writes. As the correctional services department conducts an investigation into Bester’s escape, spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said while speaking to eNCA that no common ground was yet found in probes initiated by the department and the Mangaung maximum-security prison.

Nxumalo said: “We are now engaging with the second leg, in terms of what the contact says when it comes to an escape. The security breaches that we have identified, unfortunately, there is no common ground. We don’t seem to find each other with the contractor in terms of our findings and their findings … There are disagreements. They are maintaining that the inmate who was allocated that particular cell is the one that died in that fire, and we are saying that is not the case.”

Meanwhile, the South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights (Sapohr) called for Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola to step down from office after Bester’s escape, with the organisation calling for additional, high-level investigations to be conducted, Eyewitness News reports. “That [Mangaung Correctional Centre] is a private prison. That prison is never overcrowded or undercrowded. So, it is not possible that Thabo Bester could just disappear into thin air,” said Sapohr’s Golden Miles Bhudu.

Authorities had said on Saturday, March 25, 2023, that the prisoner, who they thought had died in a prison fire in 2022, actually escaped. Deutsche Welle reported that Bester was serving a life sentence for murder, and a series of rapes and robberies. He was dubbed the “Facebook rapist” for luring his victims on the social media platform.

Additionally, Bester ran a multi-million rand scam business while in prison. Bester posed as the “chairman” of 21st Century Media, a scam event and production company, which was made to look like a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox.

21st Century Media became the subject of a social media storm in 2018 for promoting a “Women in Media” conference with Hollywood A-listers as guest speakers, which turned out to be a scam. Pictures and video from  GroundUp  showed the glitzy launch of 21st Century Media in 2018, held at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton. The event was attended by members of Johannesburg’s high society, including celebrities Amanda Du Pont and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.

Attendees were told that the chairman of the company, “Tom Motsepe”, would video call in from New York. But unbeknown to the audience, the man appearing on the big screen was actually Bester, speaking from prison.


Source link : https://allafrica.com/stories/202303280500.html

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Publish date : 2023-03-28 13:51:41

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