In a shocking turn of events, convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester escaped from prison on May 3, 2022. He then embarked on a deceitful venture with celebrity doctor Nandipha Magudumana, orchestrating a fraudulent construction company named Arum Properties. The couple duped several unsuspecting victims into paying millions for construction projects that were never completed.
Bester, who often identified himself as “TK Nkwana,” played a central role in this elaborate charade. Magudumana, his partner in crime, often introduced him to unsuspecting victims. Sporting a fake ID and driver’s license, Bester managed to establish a veneer of legitimacy. He leveraged social media accounts tied to Magudumana to lure models and influencers into their web of deceit.
Their schemes took various forms. Some were enticed with promises of lucrative gigs like auditions for a Netflix show called “Hot Property Chick.” Others were lured into flying to Cape Town, only to find that the houses they were supposed to model in were far from the promised renovations. Arum Properties’ fraudulent practices extended to hosting events like the “Women in Property” brunch, where attendees were baited with cut-rate construction services that never materialized.
Arum Properties’ carefully constructed façade began to unravel when the administrative processes within the company proved sluggish, and invoices were manipulated without consultation. Subcontractors carried out most of the actual construction work, while Bester’s aggressive demeanor made him difficult to work with, especially when clients sought transparency in budgets and schedules.
Contracts were signed with Arum Properties (Pty) Ltd, a company that did not exist in official records. Arum Holdings (Pty) Ltd, with Magudumana as its sole director, was the only legitimate entity, yet its website displayed copied images from other sources. The web of deception extended beyond construction as Magudumana’s connection to Bester’s prior scams began to surface.
As reports of Bester’s survival reached the public, he and Magudumana fled from their Sandton mansion, leaving unpaid rent and a trail of confusion. Their lavish lifestyle and involvement in various scams painted a damning picture of their true characters.
Armed men arrived at the abandoned mansion, collecting the couple’s belongings. The extent of their ill-gotten gains became apparent when a watch worth R1.5 million was found, reflecting the luxurious life Bester led after his prison escape. Magudumana’s connection to Bester’s 21st Century Media scam further solidified their partnership in crime.
GroundUp’s investigation revealed Magudumana’s complex relationship with Bester, as she claimed to be his customary law wife while already being married under civil law. Amid these revelations, questions remain about Bester’s post-escape dealings, a web of intrigue to which authorities have yet to respond.