Fugitive cameraman Habofanoe Ntsie was arrested in Ladybrand on Tuesday for allegedly assaulting one of the 15 ‘actors’ he had employed to shoot a movie Free State town.
Mr Ntsie vanished from the High Court on 26 March 2012 during lunchtime break as Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase was reading her judgement in the popular cameraman’s double murder trial.
He has been in South Africa ever since, and remains a wanted man in Lesotho.
According to two of the ‘actors’, among them the assault victim, Mr Ntsie treated them “like dogs and separated us from family and friends” as they shot the movie in Ladybrand.
“He did not provide proper meals like he had promised in our working contracts and would not allow us to contact our family and friends. He gave us strict instructions that we must not tell anyone about the details of the movie,” one of the girls said.
“We were a crew of 15 boys and girls aged between 18 and 27 from Lesotho and the Free state, and he booked us a guest house to stay in during the shooting.
“He did not treat us nicely at all. He took away our cellphones and passports, and told us not to contact our families. Initially we had food catered from the guest house until he stopped it and bought us two loaves of bread per meal to share among the 15 of us.”
The girl also said she decided to leave the crew and find her way home as she could not take it anymore.
“I could not take the ill-treatment anymore and I decided to run away two weeks ago, so now I am at home.”
The other girl who led to Mr Ntsie’s said she ended up reporting the cameraman to the police after a vicious dispute with the camareman.
“I wanted to go home, and when I realised that he did not want to listen and give me my passport, I started to insult him. He became furious because he did not expect me to insult him and then he grabbed me by the neck and strangled me while at the same time he pushed me out of his office where we were shooting the movie.
“I tried to fight back and luckily my colleagues came out and saw him strangling and assaulting me. He then left me and I immediately went to Ladybrand police and reported him. He was later arrested and is currently still in custody.”
Contacted for comment yesterday, Lesotho Mounted Police Service spokesperson Clifford Molefe said he was not aware of the arrest but promised to find out if it was true and return to the Sunday Express. He had not done s by the time of going to press last night.
Efforts to get a comment from Ladybrand police failed last night.
However, the Sunday Express learnt yesterday that Mr Ntsie is being detained at Grootvlei in Bloemfontein and is set to appear before the Ladybrand Magistrate’s Court on 4 February 2016.
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