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‘Maybe he was scammed too’: Mystery of Thabo Bester, Zuma pic.

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‘Maybe he was scammed too’: Mystery of Thabo Bester, Zuma pic.

The plot thickens! The authenticity of Thabo Bester’s alleged photograph with former president Jacob Zuma has been questioned again…

 

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Almost a year after it blew up on social media, South Africans are still puzzled about that photograph of Thabo Bester and Jacob Zuma.

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Days after his arrest in April 2023, a picture of the convicted rapist and murderer with the former South African president went viral.

In the Showmax docuseries Tracking Thabo Bester, various sources attempt to trace the origin of the image.

Was the man dubbed the “Facebook Rapist” politically affiliated, or was the post another attempt at duping the public?

Bester and his co-accused Nandipha Magudumana, along with seven others, are facing charges of assisting his 2022 prison escape, fraud, corruption, and violating multiple bodies.

MYSTERY OVER THABO BESTER AND JACOB ZUMA PIC 

In the fourth and final installment of Tracking Thabo Bester, Nandipha’s brother Nathi Sekeleni shared his thoughts on the viral image.

He jokingly said: “Maybe JZ was scammed by Thabo Bester. Maybe he was a victim. We don’t know.”

GroundUp journalist Daniel Steyn added: “Thabo Bester has obviously wormed him his way into South Africa’s rich and famous, and he could’ve gone to have a cup of tea with Jacob Zuma to pitch a business investment opportunity.

Shortly after it appeared on social media, the Jacob Zuma Foundation distanced itself from the convicted criminal. According to the SABC, the foundation’s spokesperson, Mzwanele Manyi, claimed the image was a “malicious attempt to tarnish the former president.”

Thabo Bester Jacob Zuma

Claiming it was “fake,” Manyi added that the person behind the picture was “trying to paint Zuma as a wayward person meeting wayward people.”

It wouldn’t be the first time Bester – who claimed to be “politically connected” in leaked audio  – duped the public with imagery of himself.

In 2018, Bester, allegedly using the alias Tom Matsepe, appeared via live stream at the launch of his bogus company called 21st Century Media. Bester told the public that he was based in New York and was related to SA billionaire Patrice Motsepe. However, Bester was, in fact, speaking from his prison cell at the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein.

Bester also had an X (formerly Twitter) account under his alias in which he would advertise his services. According to social media detectives, Bester photoshopped his face onto the body of Hollywood heartthrob Michael B Jordan in pictures posted on the X account.

CELEBS AND THE ‘FACEBOOK RAPIST’

Jacob Zuma was not the only high-profile person who distanced himself from Thabo Bester.

Shauwn Mkhize, AKA MaMkhize, also shot down speculation linking her to the convicted fraudster. This, after investigative reporter Karyn Maughn told Newzroom Afrika that a “billionaire” businesswoman had visited Bester during his incarceration.

Maughan and Mkhize both denied the social media commentary.

MaMkhize has clapped back at commentary she is the well known celebrity who visited Thabo Bester in prison

Meanwhile, other celebs like Simz Ngema, Tumisho Masha, Kabelo Mabalane, and Happy Simelane are all believed to have crossed paths with Bester.

Actress Pearl Thusi also came face to face with the Facebook Rapist in a chilling encounter. In 2012, months after his murder and rape sentencing, Pearl’s meeting with Thabo Bester made headlines.

In a police affidavit shown to Sunday World, the star revealed how she had survived an attack by the convict.

But that’s not all.

In a bizarre 2013 handwritten letter from jail, Thabo addressed his circle of friends who had abandoned him, name-dropping Bonang Matheba.

Addressing the media personality, he wrote: “I was the one who believed in you from the days of UJ (University of Johannesburg).

Thabo Bester once claimed to be close friends with Bonang Matheba

“Through me, you got your dream job. From that Fiat to Mini, I was with you.”

He added: “It’s ok because God knows me, and I love you as a sister in God…Bonang, God bless you with more work”.

Bonang told media thereafter that she had never met Bester.

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