‘Can the court prove this is Thabo Bester?’ Attorney says there is not enough proof | News24

'Can the court prove this is Thabo Bester?' Attorney says there is not enough proof | News24

'Can the court prove this is Thabo Bester?' Attorney says there is not enough proof | News24

Thabo Bester makes virtual appearance in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court.

Thabo Bester makes virtual appearance in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court.

Alex Patrick/News24

  • Thabo Bester’s advocate has argued there is not enough evidence to prove the man before the court was Bester.
  • Advocate Tsoeunyane Pela is due to go on trial for alleged corruption in June. 
  • Pela said since Dr Nandipha Magudumana had to remove her mask as proof of identity, Bester should also be allowed to have his identity proven. 

Thabo Bester’s new advocate, Tsoeunyane Jeremiah Pela, has implied the man locked up at the Pretoria Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional facility might be someone other than Bester.

Bester appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court via a virtual link on Tuesday.

Pela told News24 at the beginning of the month he had withdrawn from the case. This was moments after he was asked about the tender fraud and corruption trial he is facing.

Pela is due to go on trial in June for alleged corruption involving security tender bribery at the Motheo TVET College in Bloemfontein. 

News24 reported in November 2017 he and another were alleged to have demanded a R1.2 million bribe from the chief executive officer of a security company as a protection fee to guarantee the company’s contract with Motheo was not cancelled.

On Tuesday, appearing for Bester, Pela said he needed to “raise the issue with the court” that there had not been a correct identification of the man appearing in court.

This had to do with Bester not having an ID book or card.

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Pela said because Dr Nandipha Magudumana was told to remove the mask and hood she hid behind so the court could identify her, Bester should also be properly identified by the court.

“We will also raise the issue to ensure that the man who appears in court is the correct Thabo Bester. 

“[We] want to satisfy the court that the man in front of the court is indeed Bester.” 

Magistrate Mohlolo Khabisi told Pela the case was different because Magudumana had not shown her face to the court, whereas Bester appeared without hiding his face.

Khabisi said there was no reason for this because his identification was never contested at his first appearance. 

Pela argued the only evidence the man before them was Bester was a J88 form. 

The form is a medico-legal document compiled by a doctor to document a patient’s injuries.

Pela argued it would be easier to converse with his client if Bester was brought to court. 

Magudumana also appeared virtually.

Both cases have been postponed to 20 June.

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Source: https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/can-the-court-prove-this-is-thabo-bester-attorney-says-there-is-not-enough-proof-20230516