Prison Break

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By Kotie Geldenhuys
Photos courtesy of Freepik and Unsplash

The dramatic escape of Thabo Bester, dubbed the “Facebook rapist,” from prison reminded us of the American television series “Prison Break”. Yet, his escape has brought attention to the flaws and corruption within the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). These weaknesses allow numerous convicted and awaiting trial detainees to break out of incarceration. Escaping from correctional centres is a serious concern for prison authorities and the community, not only because it poses a risk to public safety, but also because it undermines the justice system’s credibility and can result in further criminal activity.

While prison escapes are not uncommon in South Africa, the Bester escape garnered significant attention. Bester, who was serving a life sentence for murder and rape at the Mangaung Correctional Centre in the Free State, which is under the management of the G4S security company, reportedly died in his cell during the early hours of 3 May 2022. Initially, the DCS stated that Bester had taken his own life by setting himself on fire in his cell. However, an investigation by the news agency GroundUp revealed that the body discovered in the cell was not that of Bester, necessitating questions of where he was.


[This is only an extract of an article that is published in Servamus: July 2024. This article is available for purchase.]

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