My client didn’t receive a cent: defence in Thabo Bester escape case

Senohe Matsoara, Teboho Lipholo, Buti Masukela, Tieho Frans Makhotsa and Natassja Jansen appear in the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court on Friday. They are applying for bail.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

One of the people accused of helping rapist and murderer Thabo Bester to escape from Mangaung Correctional Centre has told the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court he received no money and was not involved in facilitating the matter.

The bail application of former G4S employees Senohe Matsoara‚ Teboho Lipholo‚ Buti Masukela‚ Tieho Frans Makhotsa and Natassja Jansen continued on Friday.

Cross-examining a state witness who is part of the team investigating the case‚ lawyer Masilo Koenana‚ representing Masukela‚ on Friday told the court his client was not involved in the crime.

“My client wasn’t paid any monies. He received no cent. No money was transferred into his account. He didn’t benefit anything and knew nothing about this‚” Koenana said.

The investigating officer (IO) agreed that in his initial investigation there was no record to support Masukela having received any money‚ but maintained he was involved.

“The statement from Capitec didn’t show anything … but I would disagree that he was not involved in the crime because his job at the gate was to search all vehicles passing there‚ and also only allow vehicles with a gate pass through‚” the IO said.

“He also ignored an instruction from his supervisor when he was told to not allow the vehicle [driven by Matsoara] in‚” he added.

Previously‚ the officer told the court the body of Katlego Bereng‚ which was used as a decoy in the escape‚ was collected by Bester’s lover‚ Dr Nandipha Magudumana‚ from the National Hospital in Bloemfontein. Magudumana reportedly told officials she was assisting the family of the deceased with funeral arrangements.

The police officer said the body was brought to the Mangaung Correctional Centre by Matsoara using a vehicle hired by Magudumana’s father‚ Zolile Sekeleni.

The vehicle was hired at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on April 27 and arrived in Bloemfontein [driven by Sekeleni] on April 29‚ when the body was transported to Mangaung Correctional Centre by Matsoara.

“The body was hidden in a bag put under the TV stand Matsoara drove in with‚” the officer said.

He told the court Matsoara gained entry to the prison using an entrance where he would usually have needed a pass‚ but was allowed through. Masukela was working at that gate on the day‚ according to the IO.

The vehicle was supposed to be searched‚ but that apparently didn’t happen.

On the day he smuggled the body in‚ Matsoara was off duty‚ according to the investigating officer.

The body was kept overnight in the workshop section of the prison. It was then moved the next day by Lipholo‚ the officer testified.

Lipholo allegedly used a trolley bin to move the body as he was pretending to clean the prison yard. The body was then kept in a dark room in the Broadway section‚ where single cells are located.

The officer told the court Bester left the prison dressed in a G4S uniform and walked out with Lipholo and Matsoara.

The bail hearing continues.

Source: ARENA Holdings.