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Dr Nandipha Magudumana’s Zimbabwean ‘friend’ comes under scrutiny

As she applied for bail this week under the pretext that her lover, convicted murderer and rapist Thabo Bester, forced her to flee South Africa against her will, Dr Nandipha Magudumana inadvertently threw the spotlight on Dr Netsai Chibaya, a Zimbabwean doctor now working and staying in South Africa.

According to Dr Magudumana’s application, were she to be granted bail, she would be staying with Dr Chibaya over the duration of the trial.

This did not go down well with, SA Police Service’s Lieutenant Colonel Tieho Flyman, whose investigations formed the backbone of the state’s opposition of bail for Dr Magudumana at the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court.

“I also scrutinised the supplementary statement by one Netsai Michelle Chibaya. I have since established that is a Zimbabwean citizen who obtained permanent residency in the Republic of South Africa only in July 2018.

“Her residential on the system of the Department of Home Affairs is in Douglasdale in Johannesburg. The fact that this person has been staying at this address only from January 2022, is concerning.

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“I wish to state further that accused 9, is a Zimbabwean who was employed by the applicant first as a gardener and later promoted to a security guard.

“A black Mercedes Benz which was rented by the applicant, which she never returned, and which was later found abandoned in Zimbabwe when she was still at large, is evidence that the applicant has close ties with Zimbabwe.

“Her friendship with this person she states that she will stay with, is concerning,” he said.

Flyman’s submissions were not received well by the defence council, with defence attorney, advocate Frans Dlamini highlighting that some of the language used by the investigator smacked of xenophobia.

“What is wrong with that? She was naturalised in July 2018. There is nothing wrong with that it in terms of the law. The State wants to create something negative about Dr Chibaya. She is not in the country illegally. She has permanent residence, she is a doctor, she is an African person.

“The fact that she is referred to as ‘this person’ who has been residing since 2022, is concerning. It is inappropriate. The lieutenant colonel knows she is a doctor, but he says this person. It is inappropriate and disrespectful, and I am inclined to say it sounds very xenophobic,” said Dlamini.

The bail application is expected to continue on Monday.