SA journalist back home

SA journalist back home

MASERU-A South African journalist, Paul Nthoba, who had fled to Lesotho last month after he was assaulted by the police finally returned home yesterday.

Nthoba returned home after mediation by the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC), an ecumenical organisation that defends human rights.
The TRC Human Rights Officer, Rapelang Mosae, said they had a fruitful meeting with the South African High Commissioner Sello Moloto on Tuesday which eventually paved way for Nthoba’s return.

Mosae said the High Commissioner told them that they had contacted the authorities at the national level, specifically South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor.
He said Pandor told them that she had written to the Free State police command to desist from attacking Nthoba.

“They were told to protect Nthoba,” Mosae said.
He said Moloto said they had copied their communications with the TRC to the provincial police command together with the Ficksburg police where Nthoba was assaulted.

He said the commission also promised to follow up on Nthoba’s matter.
Mosae said Nthoba successfully crossed the border was now awaiting for an investigator to pick him up to a quarantine facility where he will spend the next 14 days before going home.

He said when Nthoba fled South Africa he did not have proper documentation. The TRC helped him secure a special permit to travel back home.

Nthoba, who is the editor for Mohokare News, fled to Lesotho after he was brutally assaulted by the police.
He told a press conference last week that he was brutally assaulted by the police on May 15 in Meqheleng, Ficksburg, while taking pictures of the police during their border patrol.

The police were enforcing Covid-19 regulations.
He said he was doing a positive story about how the police trying to enforce the Covid-19 regulations.
Nthoba said he tried without success to open a case against the police officers who beat him up.

But the police refused saying only the deputy station manager could help open the case.
“The very same police who beat me continued beating me when they found me at the police station,” Nthoba said.

After being beaten again, he was told he was being charged with failing to abide by the lockdown regulations.
Nthoba said he was denied a medical form but was later given one after one police officer intervened.

What scared him most was when he found a group of police officers at his home.
He then fled to Lesotho when he felt his life was in danger.
Nthoba first went to the United Nations offices and was later quarantined for 14 days in the country.

He said South African police beat and assault black Africans when they are in detention adding there were many rogue elements within the South African Police Service.

Nthoba said South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa had ordered his safe return back home.

He said he is aware that police brutality was also rife in Lesotho.
“I appreciate everything done by the TRC and MISA Lesotho in assuring my safe return,” Nthoba said.

Nkheli Liphoto

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