Thabo Bester, who was initially convicted of m_rder and two counts of rape after luring women via Facebook, was serving a life sentence when he escaped from the Mangaung maximum-security prison in 2022 by setting his cell alight.

He was eventually recaptured after living a life of luxury with his lover, the disgraced doctor Nandipha Magudumana.

According to a leaked document from South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services (DSC), Bester was an influential member of a syndicate that was so determined to cover its tracks “a poisoning campaign to take out offenders who allegedly ‘saw things’ up to and leading to the Bester escape” and a plot to allegedly poison Bester’s former cellmate Zwelinzima Nquru after he shared his suspicions that the conman may not be d3ad.

“I was approached by a G4S security manager in June 2022 [a month after Bester’s escape] who gave me a blue substance in a bag. He told me to put it in the food of prisoner Zwelinzima Nquru,” an inmate, who was later removed from the prison, he told the Sunday Times.

The DSC confirmed the existence of the report, but said it could not investigate the matter further as it was before the courts.

“Some aspects also relate to the Thabo Bester escape incident, [which is] now before the court and [in respect of which] investigations have not been closed”.