Dr Nandipha wanted to return to SA to be reunited with her children: Police on Tanzania deportation

'How and with whom did you leave SA?' Police response to Magudumana's court application

31 May 2023 - 13:28
By Belinda Pheto
Dr Nandipha Magudumana has launched an urgent court bid to declare her arrest and detention unlawful. File photo.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi Dr Nandipha Magudumana has launched an urgent court bid to declare her arrest and detention unlawful. File photo.

The police have asked the court to strike Dr Nandipha Magudumana's case off the roll as it lacks urgency and is riddled with misrepresentation of facts. 

Magudumana filed an urgent application at the high court in Bloemfontein seeking an order to have her arrest and detention declared wrongful and unlawful. 

She was arrested in April in Tanzania with her boyfriend Thabo Bester, a convicted rapist and murderer who had escaped from prison. She has been in custody since.

In her founding affidavit, Magudumana says she was abducted by South African police in Tanzania and was blindfolded. She also says the South African police had no jurisdiction in Tanzania, as it is a sovereign state. 

Magudumana informed all and sundry that she wanted to return to SA to her children.
Brig Richard Shibiri

However, in response, police say Magudumana was not arrested in Tanzania by South African police. 

In an answering affidavit filed by SAPS's Brig Richard Shibiri, head of crime investigations in Gauteng, he says Magudumana's version of events is not true and the facts she relies on are not correct in all aspects. 

Shibiri filed papers on behalf of police minister Bheki Cele and Capt Tieho Flyman, who have been cited as respondents. 

“The applicant has, in her founding affidavit, conspicuously avoided informing this court of, inter alia, the basic facts or circumstances which are invariably relevant to this matter: 

  • when and how she ended up in Tanzania before her arrest on April 6 by the Tanzanian police;
  • with whom she left SA for Tanzania;
  • if she entered and remained in Tanzania lawfully; 
  • the reason for her presence in Tanzania and where exactly in Tanzania she was allegedly arrested by members of the SAPS.” 

Shibiri argued Magudumana chose to not disclose these details to the court because they are harmful to her case, which he says is based on misrepresentation of fact. 

He also denied that Magudumana was arrested in Tanzania by South African police and also said no police member involved in the investigation concerning Bester's escape from prison were in Tanzania on April 6.

His version is that Magudumana's deportation was at the order and behest of the Tanzanian government, as she was declared a prohibited immigrant. 

Shibiri also said the Tanzanian government had made it clear that it does not cover costs of deportation of illegal immigrants if their countries of origin are able to arrange for their deportation. 

“After the handover to the DHA, the applicant and Bester were transported back to SA in the [plane contracted by the department of home affairs]. This plane left Tanzania at 00.23. Throughout this process, the SAPS only provided protection and security services to DHA officials aboard that plane. As indicated above, there was an escaped prisoner involved,” read the papers. 

Shibiri also said in the court papers that when Magudumana was handed over to the department of home affairs officials, by the South Africa high commission, she didn't resist in any way. 

“The applicant informed all and sundry that she wanted to return to SA to her children.” 

The police officer also stated that in the plane that brought Magudumana and Bester back in South Africa, no member of the SA Defence Force was on board, as stated by Magudumana in her papers.

On urgency, Shibiri asked the court to strike her case off the roll with costs for lack of urgency as he says there is self-created urgency. 

“According to the applicant, her application is urgent because her personal liberty is in issue. The applicant was arrested over a month ago. She failed to bring this application promptly after her arrest, though she has always been legally represented in the criminal court from the first time she appeared,” read the papers. 

Magudumana's case will be heard in the high court in Bloemfontein on Thursday. 


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