thabo bester, vote

Thabo Bester has likely cast his vote for the first time during Wednesday’s elections.
Images via X: @governmentza

First time voter: Thabo Bester takes to the polls with new ID?

Like many first time voters, convicted criminal, Thabo Bester took to the polling station for the general elections on Wednesday, 29 May.

thabo bester, vote

Thabo Bester has likely cast his vote for the first time during Wednesday’s elections.
Images via X: @governmentza

Like many South Africans, convicted offender Thabo Bester likely voted for the first time in the general elections on Wednesday, 29 May.

That’s because the Kgosi Mampuru inmate was recently granted an ID card and birth certificate after spending his life undocumented.

Bester, his rumoured girlfriend, Nandipha Magudumana, and seven others are facing charges of assisting Bester’s prison escape, fraud, corruption, and violating multiple bodies.

The accused will make their next appearance at the Free State High Court on 5 June.


Like other South Africans, prisoners around the country were able to cast their vote during the general elections on Wednesday.

Likely exercising his democratic right to vote was Thabo Bester, who was convicted of fraud, murder, and rape. After his prison escape from the Mangaung Correctional Centre, Bester was moved to Kgosi Mampuru, a super-maximum security prison, following his rearrest in April 2023.

A year ago, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi confirmed that Thabo Bester has received both a birth certificate and an ID document while incarcerated at the Kgosi Mampuru prison.

Bester’s mother, Maria Mabaso, failed to register his birth with the Department of Home Affairs following his birth in 1986. Bester himself also failed to apply for an identity document after turning 18.

thabo bester, kgosi mampuru
Convicted rapist, murderer and fraudster Thabo Bester is being incarcerated at the Kgosi Mampuru Prison in Pretoria.
Images via X: @chriseldalewis

According to National Police General Fannie Masemola, Bester was identified by his fingerprints upon his rearrest.

According to the department, Bester only has a grade seven education.

In July, Bester’s cell was broadcast live during an official prison media walkabout with National Commissioner of Correctional Services Makgothi Thobakgale.

During the livestream, a voice – believed to be Bester –  was heard saying: “I don’t like being tortured. You didnt ask for permission”.

According to the SABC, Bester refused to speak to the media. He also claimed that he submitted an “official letter” to authorities outlining his grievances.

Thobakgale denied Bester’s allegations.


According to eNCA, – an estimated 14,753 inmates, possibly including Thabo Bester, were registered to vote in the general elections.

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola said: “The measures we have put in place are designed to ensure that eligible inmates can exercise their right to vote in a secure and transparent manner. 

“Hence, this initiative marks a significant step forward in ensuring that our democratic processes are inclusive and just.”

According to Section 24B of the Electoral Act, prisoners are allowed to vote in national and provincial elections within the district where they are imprisoned.