Saturday 22 April 2023


The burnt body in Thabo Bester's cell at Mangaung Correctional Centre has been identified as Katlego Bereng.

Bester, a convicted murderer and rapist, was believed to have died in cell 35 in May last year. However, authorities conceded last month that Bester had escaped prison after GroundUp revealed that the body found in the cell was not his.

An autopsy report showed that the deceased had died due to blunt force trauma to the head and was already dead before the prison caught fire.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe confirmed that the body had been identified and the family notified.

"As difficult as this news is, the SAPS is pleased to bring closure to the family," Mathe added.

On Friday afternoon, Batho Mpholo received the call that Bloemfontein police had informed his son's mother, Monica Matsie, that the DNA test results had returned - and that the body was that of their missing son.

"I called my son's mother in April last year asking where Katlego is because he wasn't answering my calls or texts. He also all of a sudden just stopped posting on social media, and that I found very strange because he loved social media," Mpholo told News24.

According to the grief-stricken father, Katlego lived with his grandmother in Bloemfontein. His mother also lived in the area.

"She is in a complete state of shock. She's not able to talk yet. This is devastating news," he said.

Mpholo added that he would fly down to Bloemfontein on Sunday to be with Monica and the rest of the family.

"We have been asked to come to see the body. Then we will be going to meet with police, who said they'd give us more information once we get there on Monday," Mpholo added.

He recalls Monica telling him that she asked to have DNA testing done as a body had been found, and police suspected it could her son.

"At that time police did not tell us the DNA was for testing the body found in Thabo Bester's cell. It was only when we got the results on Friday was it discovered that that the body is Katlego."

Bester was dubbed the "Facebook rapist" as he used the social media platform to lure women, saying international modelling scouts were interested in them. He would then rape and rob them at knifepoint, murdering at least one of his victims. In 2012, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for these crimes.

Bester, who was serving a life sentence at the time of his escape, was arrested in Tanzania with his partner, celebrity aesthetics doctor Nandipha Magudumana.

Magudumana's father, Zolile Sekeleni and his co-accused – his daughter, former G4S employee Senohe Matsoara, camera installer Teboho Lipholo and G4S guard Motanyane John Masukela – are charged with helping escape.

Katlego would have celebrated his 32nd birthday next month.

"We miss him so much," an emotional Mpholo added. News24


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