Dr Nandipha Madugumana’s legal team confident she will walk scot-free

Dr Nandipha Madugumana’s legal team confident she will walk scot-free

Dr Nandipha Madugumana’s legal team confident she will walk scot-free

Dr Nandipha Magudumana’s lawyer advocate Themba Diba believes his client would walk out scot-free from all the charges she faces.

Diba told the publication he believed in his client’s case and “that’s all I can say.”

However, he could not confirm how his client would plead. Dressed in a grey hoodie, Magudumana sat quietly in the dock and waved at relatives, some of whom shed a tear, including her father Zolile Sekeleni, who joined her in the dock.

Her legs were shackled and she massaged her hands, seemingly as a form of stress relief when members of the media took photographs and videos of her as family called her with clan names, saying they loved her and encouraged her to be strong.

Heavily armed police officers and Department of correctional services guards who mostly cover their faces with balaclavas , were on guard in court.

Magudumana, Sekeleni, former prison warder Senohe Matsoara and CCV technician Teboho Lipholo are facing charges of murder, defeating the ends of justice, and aiding and abetting a convict, following the escape from prison of her killer and rapist boyfriend Thabo Bester.

Bail granted
In a turn of events, Sekeleni was released on bail of R10 000 after the state dropped the murder charges against him.

His bail conditions were that he should not, directly or indirectly, contact witnesses, he should not interfere with investigations and he should report at a police station in Port Edward once a week.

Diba said he believed Magudumana would be released during the bail application to be heard on 3 and 4 May. Asked if the state prematurely charged Magudumana’s father with murder, he said: “It should be asked to them why exactly they charged him.”

National Prosecuting Authority’s Free State spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said the decision not to oppose bail was based on evidence presented to them.

There has been a public outcry that the state tends to arrest and only investigate after, which then makes their case weak in court – and those with access to money seem to be granted bail easily despite them being a flight risk.

Given the fact that Magudumana and Bester were caught in Tanzania trying to flee accountability in SA, questions have been raised if Sekeleni wouldn’t follow suit.

Asked if Sekeleni was not a flight risk, Shuping said: “We live in a constitutional democracy and there is a criminal procedure that we have to follow. We are not going to oppose bail just because of a previous incident that we had nothing to do with and the person we are dealing with.

‘One case at a time’

“We are dealing with one case at a time, we treat any chance with its own circumstances, currently they are exceptional circumstances as to why he must be released on bail.

We took consideration of those circumstances hence we decided not to oppose bail. “There are consequences for any person who fails to adhere to bail conditions. If the person skips the country, there is a procedure that we must follow in bringing the person back.

In this instance, we are hoping he will respect his bail conditions.” Shuping said the state has a strong case. ActionSA provincial chair Patricia Kopane said Bester’s escape was a clear indication that there were deeper things and the more investigations were done, this would be revealed.

“This case clearly shows how our justice system is dysfunctional,” she said. “It is obvious criminals walk for months and months on the streets without the intervention of our police.

What is scary is that the victims of Bester were not told about his escape. The reality is criminals are free in this country.

“We need to get to the bottom of what happened and people must be held accountable. Nandipha and these other people owe South Africa so much, we need to know exactly what happened.”

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