One of three new accused added to Thabo Bester matter granted R10K bail

03 July 2023 - 13:31
By Khanyisile Ngcobo
Some of the accused in the Thabo Bester matter in court. One of the three men arrested last week was granted bail, with conditions. File photo.
Image: Mlungisi Louw Some of the accused in the Thabo Bester matter in court. One of the three men arrested last week was granted bail, with conditions. File photo.

One of the three men recently added to the Thabo Bester case has been granted bail by the Bloemfontein magistrate's court. The other two will spend another week behind bars after their matter was postponed.

Thabang Matthews Mier, Joel Lekhari Makhetha and Moeketsi April Ramolula were back in court on Monday, after a brief appearance last week Wednesday.

Mier faces one charge of assisting an inmate to escape, while the other two face three charges each: assisting an inmate to escape, violation of a body and corruption.

The three were arrested on the morning of June 26, one at his home in Botshabelo and the other two at their homes in Bloemfontein.

All three are G4S employees.

Proceedings started with the change in legal representatives by Ramolula. He terminated the mandate of Legal Aid and appointed private representation.

Prosecutor Sello Matlhoko then indicated that the state was not opposed to Mier's bail application, given that he faces one charge.

“The state is not opposed to his application for bail. His address has been confirmed and [he] has no previous conviction or pending matter whatsoever, so the state has no grounds to oppose bail,” he said.

Matlhoko added that the state and Mier's defence had agreed on an amount of R10,000 for bail, with conditions that he doesn't communicate with witnesses, doesn't leave the magisterial district of Mangaung without notifying the investigating officer, reports once a week between 8am-4pm to the Kopanong police station and attends all the court dates.

His lawyer confirmed that he would report to the police station on Wednesdays.

Regarding Makhetha and Ramolula, the state requested a postponement to July 11 as it indicated that it would oppose bail for both due to the number of charges against them.

“The application for bail in respect of accused number 10. Your matter is postponed until August 8, 2023 and that is for further investigation. Bail is granted to you in the sum of R10,000.

“Accused number 11 and 12, your bail application will proceed on July 11 in this court. So until then, you will remain in custody,” magistrate Estelle de Lange said.

Twelve people have so far been arrested in connection with Bester's audacious escape from Mangaung prison, seven of them either current or former employees of the security company.

Only two of the accused have successfully applied for bail so far, while Dr Nandipha Magudumana abandoned her bail bid to challenge her arrest and detention.

TimesLIVE

Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.