thabo bester department of correctional services statement

South Africa’s Department Of Correctional Services Insists Thabo Bester Burnt To Death Amidst Re-emergence

The spokesperson for South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services (DCS), Singabakho Nxumalo, says the department stands by its initial statement that Thabo Bester died in his cell.

The DCS released a statement following the alleged death of Bester in a fire in his cell in May 2022.

The statement said Bester had burnt to death in his cell.

However, recent photos have been released appearing to show Bester shopping in Sandton City in the company of celebrity doctor, Nandi Magugumana, a month after his alleged death.

Following public backlash, Nxumalo told eNCA the department still stands by its statement as it would be irresponsible to make conclusions when the matter remains under investigation.

“As the department we still stand by the statement that we issued on 3 May 2022.

Until such time that new information is brought to us, until such time that the investigating team is done with its report and is presented to us, and then if there are findings telling us something on the contrary, we’ve committed ourselves that we will then make the report public,” Nxumalo said.

“I┬áthink we owe it to the South Africans, especially even the victims of crime, and this issue has become a matter of public interest.

“We do understand the frustrations of ordinary citizens hence we are pressing upon the investigating team to say you have to complete this investigation, but we would not want to apply undue pressure to a point where they are the unable to do their work the correct way.”

Correctional Services releases statement on re-emergence of Thabo Bester

The DCS released a statement on March 17th 2023, following the publication of Bester’s new photos.

The statement basically refused to confirm or deny if the photos were of Bester, instead insisting investigations into his death are still ongoing.

Read full statement below…

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has noted media reports on allegations regarding the death of inmate Thabo Bester in custody. On 3 May 2022, DCS issued a brief alert confirming an incident of death in custody, at Mangaung Correctional Centre (MCC) which is one of our public-private partnership (PPP) facilities, following reports of a fire in a single cell allocated to the said inmate.

We further disclosed that his body was discovered by officials employed at MCC at about 03h35. A burnt body meant that this case could not be classified as a natural death; hence, an investigation needed to be undertaken in order to determine the cause of death. This is a standard practice for all unnatural death cases in correctional facilities.

An unnatural death will also mean that the South African Police Service needed to be involved in order to conduct an investigation, should there be foul play or a criminal element involved. DCS has been inundated with media enquiries on the matter and we have clearly stated that the investigation is ongoing and there are no new developments. Almost all media enquiries received were relying heavily on the so-called leaks from unidentified sources.

It would be irresponsible for DCS to respond on unconfirmed or unofficial reports. What we have seen in the past two days relates to the information supplied by these unauthorised sources and the Department is pressured to confirm nor deny these reports. Let us reiterate that the investigation on the death of Thabo Bester has not been concluded and the autopsy report has not been tabled before the Department.

The matter has become a subject of public interest and the Department is pressing on the investigation team to conclude its work so that the findings could be made available.

Enquiries:
 Singabakho Nxumalo
Cell: 079 523 5794
E-mail: [email protected](link sends e-mail)

Logan Maistry
Cell: 083 644 4050
E-mail: [email protected](link sends e-mail)

Issued by: 

Department of Correctional Services

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