Thabo Bester Brigadier Mkhaulesi

Thabo Bester, Brigadier Mkhaulesi. Images via Twitter @sli_masikane

Thabo Bester: SAPS slams claims SMS led top cop to suicide

The SAPS has branded rumours about the death of the lead investigator in the Thabo Bester escape case as fake news.

Thabo Bester Brigadier Mkhaulesi

Thabo Bester, Brigadier Mkhaulesi. Images via Twitter @sli_masikane

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has denied reports suggesting that one of the investigators in the rapist and murder Thabo Bester escape case committed suicide shortly after receiving an SMS.

On 5 June, Brigadier Jackson Mkhaulesi was found in his car in Bloemfontein with a gunshot wound. He was buried on Sunday, 18 June.

ALSO READ: Five things to know about Thabo Bester investigator death


The SAPS said reports that Mkhaulesi had received an SMS that led to him to kill himself were false.

“SAPS has noted with great concern fake news circulating on social media. The SAPS calls on all who have published, seen or received the false news article, to ignore it and to refrain from sharing or disseminating false information,” it said.

Mkhaulesi joined the police in January 1992 and became a sergeant in two years later. He became a brigadier in 2022 and had reportedly committed suicide hours after recording his first victory against Bester’s co-accused Dr Nandipha Magudumana.

ALSO READ: Tears, fears and a single bullet: Thabo Bester cop’s safety concerns


According to SowetanLIVE, former deputy national commissioner for crime detection Jacob Tsumane called for a full investigation into Mkhaulesi’s death.

“I am calling on all the investigators in the province that they must make sure they get something from the crime scene where Mkhaulesi died.

“He excelled in crime scenes after I taught him that job during my era in the Free State [as provincial commissioner]. He had no time to come in or knock off because he was always available whenever I called him to go somewhere irrespective of the time,” Tsumane recalled.

ALSO READ: Dr Nandipha said to give details on missing domestic employees

Meanwhile, Free State Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union representative Joshua Motsamai pleaded with the SAPS to keep officers in the profession when they want to retire or resign.

“Major please note that whenever there is an officer who wants to resign, take early retirement or wants to retire, you must know that officer is fed up. He or she is really fed up.

“This is to avoid the incident such as this one where we see police [officers] committing suicide. Mkhaulesi’s death could have been avoided,” Motsamai said.

ALSO READ: Thabo Bester: Family pokes holes in Maria Mabaso’s interview

Brigadier Jackson Mkhaulesi Bester
Brigadier Jackson Mkhaulesi, the seasoned investigator and Free State Head of Organised Crime, died on Monday, 5 June. Image: SAPS.