The man who owns the hotel that Thabo Bester allegedly stayed in, while incarcerated, as well as a security company that worked at the prison that he escaped from, claims he was unaware of anything to do with the saga around the so-called Facebook rapist.
The Citizen has learnt that the directors of the hotel where Bester and Dr Nandipha Magudumana enjoyed luxury getaways before the Facebook rapist’s big escape are Geoff Greyling, his ex-wife Elsje Greyling, and Ivan Daniel Jacobson.
Geoff Greyling is also the director of Integritron Integrated Solutions (IIT), which was contracted by security company G4S to install CCTV cameras at the Mangaung Correctional Centre (MCC), where the so-called Facebook rapist audaciously escaped from.
Geoff and Elsje Greyling are also directors of South Africa Security Solutions and Technology (Sasstec).
Owner of Tredenham Boutique Hotel
A report over the weekend identified Gavin Jacobson as the owner of the Tredenham Boutique Hotel, which is just 25km away from the MCC.
However, The Citizen has learnt this is not the case.
According to a report by The Sunday Times, Magudumana stayed at the Tredenham Boutique Hotel in March and again in April, along with a man using one of Bester’s aliases, TK Nkwana. Strangely, this breakaway happened while Bester was still in prison.
This suggests that he had either been able to get out of MCC for his getaways, or that someone else was also using this alias.
The Citizen last week revealed that Bester was travelling under at least 19 aliases after he escaped from the Mangaung prison, one of which was TK Nkwana.
According to a Tanzanian source, the travel documents were found in Nandipha’s luggage when they were arrested approximately 10km from the Kenyan border.
The Sunday Times report revealed that an invoice from the hotel showed Bester and Magudumana stayed for four nights at the hotel – from Thursday, 24 March 2022 until Monday, 28 March.
Jacobson said their booking system showed the couple had stayed a further night, checking out on Tuesday, 29 March, and were back two weeks later, checking in for one night on Wednesday, April 13.
The Tredenham Boutique Hotel confirmed that only the driver’s license of Magudumana was provided when the couple checked in.
Geoff and Elsje Greyling
According to a source, the Tredenham was allegedly converted into a hotel from the former residence of Geoff and Elsje Greyling.
With Geoff and Elsje Greyling being the directors of the Tredenham Boutique Hotel, questions have been raised about whether the husband and ex-wife were aware that Bester and Magudumana stayed at their establishment before the great escape.
Integritron Integrated Solutions has not been short of controversy.
The company has been embroiled in alleged corrupt activities since 2016.
The Mail & Guardian reported that the company had a contract with the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) and that Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) described it as “completely corrupt”.
In June 2017, a whistleblower made a series of explosive allegations against the DCS and Integritron Integrated Solutions, which is part of Sasstec.
Former Sasstec employee Ryan Bettridge alleged that there was collusion between DCS officials and Sasstec before the awarding of a R378 million tender for what was known as the Integrated Inmate Management System (IIMS) — a software solution to keep track of South Africa’s 160 000 strong prison population at the time.
Bettridge detailed the allegations in a letter to Scopa which probed irregularities in the contract, which was awarded in November 2015.
Integritron Integrated Solutions and another Sasstec company, SA Fence & Gate, had contracts with the department to the tune of R2 billion.
Last week, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services began its hearings into Bester’s escape from the MCC. G4S and Integritron Integrated Solutions were both subpoenaed to give evidence.
An affidavit placed before Parliament alleged that an Integritron Integrated Solutions CCTV technician Teboho Lipholo had admitted to deliberately switching off the recorders of the CCTV cameras that would have captured Bester’s escape.
The 44-year-old Lipholo was arrested on 19 April.
“The person was arrested in Bloemfontein. He is an employee contracted to a company that installs and maintains camera for G4S at the prison. He’s facing three charges, aiding and abetting a convicted prisoner to escape from lawful custody, violating a dead body and defeating the ends of justice,” police spokesperson Brigadier Atlenda Mathe said.
The Justice and Correctional Services Portfolio Committee also heard how the cameras, facing cell 35 that Bester was locked inside, were not working between 7.38pm on 2 May 2022, and 4.10am on 3 May 2022.
Two officials who were working in the central control room that night were also fired for failing to report that the cameras were not working.
Lipholo has since appeared briefly in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court alongside Magadumana, her father and former G4S employee Zolile Sekeleni, and another G4S employee Senohe Matsoara.
G4S guard arrest
On Tuesday, 18 April 2023, another G4S security guard Buti Masukela was arrested at the MCC.
Masukela appeared before the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 20 April 2023, facing charges of assisting an inmate to escape from lawful custody and defeating the ends of justice.
He will remain behind bars until his next court appearance on 3 and 4 May.
Integritron’s ties to Sasstec and SA Fence and Gates
During the Justice and Correctional Services Portfolio Committee hearing, DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach quizzed Intergriton legal advisor Dylan Williams and director Litichia Pedro about Integritron’s ties to Sasstec and SA Fence and Gates, News24 reported.
“And these are all companies – their largest shareholder is one Geoff Greyling. Is that correct?” she asked. Williams confirmed the details.
“And he is somebody the inimitable Angelo Agrizzi had a lot to say about at the Zondo Commission. Is that correct?” Breytenbach asked.
The Mail & Guardian revealed in 2009 how Agrizzi had emailed tender specifications for the fencing contract to the chief executives of SA Fence and Gate – Greyling, Bekaert Bastion and Michael Rodenburg – weeks before the tender was advertised. He also included this in his testimony at the commission.
Breytenbach also alleged that Greyling is a member of the African National Congress’ (ANC) Progressive Business Forum (PBF) and is “quite a big donor”.
Breytenbach ripped into G4S’s presentation surrounding Bester’s escape, saying the security company took no responsibility for Bester’s escape.
Geoff Greyling response
The Citizen contacted Geoff Greyling and posed a series of questions regarding his directorship of the Tredenham Boutique Hotel and of Integritron Integrated Solutions, as well as whether he was aware of Bester’s escape.
“I wish to confirm that I have no evidence to support that Thabo Bester stayed at the Tredenham Boutique Hotel prior to his escape from the Mangaung Correctional Centre. I only recently learned of Thabo Bester’s escape – likely the same way as everyone else, by way of media reports.
“The Tredenham Boutique Hotel has also issued a statement confirming that it has no knowledge of Thabo Bester attending or staying at the hotel – this follows a rigorous, internal investigation,” Greyling said.
Greyling also admitted that he was the director of the Tredenham Boutique Hotel and Integritron Integrated Solutions.
“The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) will confirm that I am director of the Tredenham Boutique Hotel and of Integritron Integrated Solutions (IIS) – this is correct. But for my directorship, these entities are not affiliated and are not owned by the same persons.”
Greyling also confirmed that Jacobson was not the owner of the Tredenham Boutique Hotel, as previously reported.
“Gavin Jacobson is not the owner of the Tredenham Boutique Hotel. I cannot comment on the origin of the averment that he is the owner of the Tredenham Boutique Hotel. Gavin Jacobson confirmed to me that he has never made representations to such effect. This is likely another error or assumption made by various media agencies.
“I can confirm that the Tredenham Boutique Hotel has co-operated with the South African Police Services and will continue to do so,” he said.
Greyling added that he could not comment on the arrest of Lipholo, the CCTV camera installer who was arrested for manipulating the cameras at the prison Bester escaped from.
“I cannot comment on the ongoing investigation or charges relating to an erstwhile employee of IIS, save to state that, the circumstances only came to IIS’s knowledge towards the end of March 2023.”
Greyling said he is seeking legal advice.
“There has been a continuous and open engagement with the media and despite this, there is false or misleading reporting on these matters, even by reputable media agencies.
“We are in the process of seeking legal advice in this regard, and some legal action has already been taken,” he said.