Nandipha Magudumana, who is celebrating her 35th birthday in jail and seeking release after months behind bars, has informed the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court that she is willing and able to pay R10,000 bail.
Magudumana was photographed laughing with her father, Zolile Sekeleni, who embraced her in front of the cameras.
— Peché Africa 🇿🇦 (@pmcafrica) September 4, 2023
Magudumana’s relatives, including her brothers and sisters, were also present in court.
Last week, over two days, Magudumana made her first bail application since her arrest in April. She was arrested alongside her convicted killer lover Thabo Bester, dubbed the “Facebook rapist.” Bester had been sentenced to life in prison for rape and murder.
Bester escaped from the privately-run Mangaung Correctional Facility in May last year with the help of at least 12 people, including Magudumana and former G4S personnel, after faking his own fiery death.
Magudumana is charged with fraud, violating a body, corruption, arson, enabling a convict to escape, harbouring and concealing an escaped prisoner, and undermining the ends of justice.
The State has depicted her as a married lady who was the mastermind behind Bester’s audacious escape and abandoned her two children to flee with her boyfriend.
Magudumana claimed she had been kidnapped and forced into the vehicle by Bester as they fled to Tanzania.
Magudumana’s lawyer, Machini Motloung, told the court that if bail was granted, she would be willing to pay R10,000.
If bail is granted, Magudumana would be placed into the custody of her friend, Dr Michelle Chibaya.
Motloung argued that the State had failed to demonstrate why Magudumana was a flight risk and so should not be given bail.
Motloung further claimed that the State had created a “backdrop of confusion” in Count 3 (corruption) by speaking about R85,000 allegedly paid to one of the defendants, although the charge sheet spoke of R40,000 and did not address the R2.5 million produced in court.
The State claims Magudumana offered R2.5 million to the other accused in exchange for Bester’s release.
Motloung also told the court that Magudumana and Bester who were seen purportedly embracing each other affectionately in the dock when they came in contact recently for the first time since their arrest.
“The reason that the State is resorting to that strategy is to undermine the allegation that (Magudumana) involuntarily left the country,” said Motloung, who said an expert was the in the best position to determine Magudumana’s body language.
Motloung also told the court that the State had lied, saying Magudumana only contacted his children once during her four months in prison.
“This is not backed up by any shred of evidence. Their word cannot be gospel. Where did they get that information from?
“They went as far as downloading pictures, the information was left hanging, and it is expected of this honourable court to just accept it,” said Motloung.
Last week, the court heard testimony from Investigating Officer Colonel Tieho Flyman of the SA Police Services’ Organised Crime Division in Bloemfontein, who submitted an affidavit detailing how Magudumana was a flight risk, how she allegedly assisted Bester in escaping, and how she was facing over R20 million in fraud charges in various cases across the country.
Its #DrNandiphaMagudumana‘s 35th birthday today and she is in court for the continuation of her bail application. Her criminally charged father and siblings are in court for support today. pic.twitter.com/7cCxHxVTTX
— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) September 4, 2023
The State has argued that the charges against her are serious and should be handled as a Schedule 5 offence, which has a significantly stricter bail threshold, whilst her defence has attempted to persuade the court that the charges are actually a Schedule 1 offence.
Magudumana also filed an affidavit with the court last Thursday, claiming she was kidnapped and forced into fleeing the county.
Nandipha Magudumana’s bail application was set out for two days last week, but the proceedings were not concluded in time, leading to additional time being allocated for Monday.
The bail application continues.