Showmax has been given the green light by the Johannesburg High Court to air the controversial “Tracking Thabo Bester” documentary. 

The four-part documentary follows the story of Bester, who was serving a life sentence for murder and a series of rapes—a sentence passed in 2012. Bester lured women by promising them international modeling gigs via Facebook.

Thabo Bester and Nandipha Magudumana had asked the court to prevent the documentary from airing because it could impact an ongoing court case centered around his 2022 prison escape. They argued that some of the documentary participants are considered witnesses in their court case.

Showmax had argued that giving in to the co-accused’s demands would encroach on South Africans’ constitutional rights to access information. Showmax also argued that the documentary’s content was information already in the public domain.

Handing down the judgment, Judge Wilson stated that Bester and Magundana had not presented a strong enough argument to bar the airing of the documentary. “There is no basis that I can recognise upon which [Bester & Magundana]’s relief can be granted hence, the application is dismissed,” ruled Judge Wilson.

Bester escaped from prison in 2022 by faking his death with the assistance of his girlfriend Nandipha Magudumana. The latter is facing charges of aiding and abetting the escape. In May 2022, prison authorities reported that Bester had died in his cell from injuries relating to a fire that erupted in his cell. A charred body was found in the cell, which was later discovered was not Bester.

Bester was later arrested in Tanzania in April 2023 following a manhunt. Magudana, who is said to have sourced the body burnt in Bester’s cell during his escape, was arrested with him and has been in custody since.

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