The Star Late Edition
Bester’s celeb doctor lover Nandipha’s five co-accused argue their case for bail
FIVE of Dr Nandipha Magudumana’s fellow accused have appeared before the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on charges of defeating the ends of justice and aiding and abetting a convicted criminal in Thabo Bester’s jail break.
All of the co-accused are former employees of G4S and Mangaung Maximum Correctional Centre and are alleged to have assisted in the successful escape of Bester from the facility on May 3 last year.
They have all since been dismissed from their jobs.
However, they all intend to plead not guilty to the more than 16 charges against them following their individual affidavits, which they deposed to the court yesterday, after their formal bail application before the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court.
The first bail applicant, Senohe Motsoara, argued against his continued incarceration, saying that his chances of finding employment had suffered since his imprisonment. He said as a sole breadwinner and someone who had no pending or prior conditions, he would like to be granted bail.
“As a 38-year-old male who is currently unemployed and surviving on piece jobs, it is not in the interest of justice for me to be incarcerated. I wish to be treated as innocent until found guilty by this court of law, as I do not have any previous convictions or pending matters against me,” he said.
However, the State prosecutor, through the first witness and investigating officer, argued that Motsoari had travelled to Lesotho at least eight times in October and November and might pose a risk of not attending his court case should he be granted bail.
“He has relatives in Lesotho, and his passport, which he has volunteered over to the investigating team, shows that between October and November, the accused’s passport was stamped 16 times, suggesting that he has travelled to Lesotho at least eight times during this time,” the investigating officer said.
With a stock theft case registered in 2007, Teboho Lipholo also argued for bail, saying he had volunteered himself to the police and met one of the investigating officers at Mimosa Mall as he wanted to confess the involvement of senior and junior G4S employees in Bester’s prison escape.
He also argued that since his imprisonment, he had not been able to make regular contact with his family.
“I was called by one of the investigating officers and met him at Mimosa Mall as I feared for my life … Since my imprisonment, I have not been able to make regular contact with my family, and I have since contracted a severe flu due to a lack of adequate blankets inside prison,” he said.
Matanyane Masukela also presented his case before the court, saying he had a serious illness that could only be treated outside prison.
He said he did not intend to interfere with the investigation, and if given bail, he would abide by all the requirements.
“I am extremely diabetic and wish to be granted bail as my condition can only be treated outside the confines of the prison system. I do not pose any threats and will not be a flight risk as I do not have a passport,” he said.
However, it was revealed that his condition could be treated within the prison system as it was a common one.
Nastassja Jansen said as a single mother responsible for three of her girl children and most of her family, she also wished to be granted the opportunity to attend his court case from home, saying all her children depended on her and some of the grant money that the family earned.
“I am a 35-year-old single mother who is responsible for her three girl children. All my children are dependent on me as a single mother. I do acknowledge that I receive R500 from the father of my oldest daughter, R1 000 from my other daughter, and another R1 600 from the father of my third daughter. I stay in a shanty with my siblings and my mother,” she said.
Tieho Mokhotsa, who was arrested alongside Jansen last week, said he too wanted to be granted bail until the State was able to prove its case against him, adding that his continued imprisonment was not in the interest of justice.
“My continued incarceration is not in any way in the interest of justice. I intend to plead not guilty to the charges brought against me,” he said.
Magudumana chose to provisionally withdraw her request for bail until May 16, after her lawyer argued that there had been new developments in the matter.
The five will continue their arguments today when the case resumes for day two of their formal bail application. Their lawyers are expected to cross-examine the first witness.