South Africa’s popular soapie Isibaya has been rocked by the most embarrassing scandal in its history.
Sunday World has sensationally learnt that the goats that were used in a scene depicting rural settings were allegedly stolen from a Joburg farmer.
The farmer, Chris Mabunda, says he identified his stolen livestock on TV, three months ago.
The thieves, according to Mabunda, used a vehicle belonging to Bomb Productions, which produces the soapie, to ferry the bleating cargo from Mabunda’s farm in Eikenhof, south of Joburg, to the soapie’s studios in Cleveland, east of Joburg.
The goats were stolen, together with 54 sheep and 94 cattle, between 2014 and 2015.
Mabunda has opened three cases of stock theft at Mondeor police station.
But, to his shock, police failed to arrest one of the soapie’s managers accused of the stock theft after he allegedly confessed to be the mastermind behind the stock theft when he was cornered by Vereeniging police, Mabunda and his business partner Sakhile Thusi.
The manager, known to Sunday World, deposed an affidavit, which we have seen, at Kliptown police station, in which he agreed to settle the matter with the farmers.
This, after Mabunda and Thusi demanded R1.4-million for their loss.
The man denied that he was a livestock thief, saying he bought them from “a supplier”.
“They didn’t have proof that the goats belong to them. They were only able to identify three goats from the kraal but they took 30 goats,” he said.
He said he would co-operate with the police because he was innocent.
Mabunda confirmed he opened three cases of stock theft after 90 goats, 54 sheep and about 94 cattle were stolen.
He said he and Thusi once spotted a minibus ferrying the haul from their farm and quickly jotted down its registration plate.
“When we checked we discovered that the car belonged to Bomb Productions in Randburg. We went there to look for their offices but couldn’t find them,” he said.
Mabunda said three months ago he received a call from Thusi who told him he was watching Isibaya and had spotted one of their stolen goats.
He said he and Thusi bought the goats together at an auction in Joburg.
“We then drove to Msinga in KZN because we could see that the episode was shot there. So when we arrived we were told that they only shot one episode there and the rest were shot from their studios in Cleveland,” he said.
He said they barrelled to Soweto and, voila, they found the goat they spotted on TV together with its mates which were stolen from their farm.
He said when they enquired, they were told the goats belonged to the senior manager.
Mabunda said the manager confessed to have stolen their goats and tried to buy their silence by giving them a contract at the soapie but they refused and called the police.
“The police arrived and took him to Kliptown police station where he made an affidavit, stating that he would settle the matter with us. We wanted the police to arrest him but they told us to sort the matter out with him. We don’t want their contract, we want them to pay us R1.4-million for the loss we suffered,” said Mabunda.
The manager refuted allegations that he tried to buy their silence with a contract from Isibiya.
Mondeor police spokeswoman Elizabeth Mnguni had not responded to questions at the time of going to print.