2 farm workers found guilty of murdering Coligny teen
Two farm workers accused of killing a 15-year-old Coligny teen were found guilt of murder in the North West High Court in Mahikeng on Wednesday.
Judge Ronnie Hendricks found Pieter Doorewaard, 27, and Philip Schutte, 34, guilty of murder, kidnapping, intimidation, theft, and pointing a firearm.
Matlhomola Moshoeu died on April 20, 2017, after falling from a moving vehicle.
Doorewaard and Schutte claimed that Moshoeu had jumped from the van while they were driving to a police station, after they had caught him stealing a sunflower.
While handing down judgment, Hendricks said that, after all the contradictions, probabilities and improbabilities were taken into account, he had relied on the version of the lone witness, Bonakele Pakisi.
The defence had argued that Pakisi's testimony was not credible because of contradictions in his statements.
"I am satisfied that the evidence of Mr Pakisi is honest, truthful and reliable," Hendricks said.
Hendricks said there was no practical reason why Pakisi would have invented the evidence given, as he remembered "each and every scene" and was able to describe what had happened at the various scenes.
Story of accused 'makes no sense'
He said Pakisi would have been very inventive if he had made up all the evidence he presented to the court during his testimony.
"There is one thing that needs special mention... That Mr Pakisi gave evidence on difference scenes," he said.
Hendricks also said that the evidence also noted that there was a possible motive to punish Mosheou.
There was no reason why the boy would have jumped from the bakkie, as the accused claimed, Hendricks said.
"It is difficult to believe the assumption that the deceased jumped from the van," Hendricks said.
Hendricks further said that the accused had told the court that the deceased had been sitting at the back of the bakkie on the day, at the rear window.
"It makes no sense. Why he would all of a sudden, and for no reason, after being so cooperative, jump," he said.
Protests, racial tension
Hendricks said the State had proved its case to the court.
"I am of the view that their [the accused's] versions are not reasonably possibly true and are rejected," Hendricks said.
He said the rejection of the accused's versions was backed by the reports by pathologists, who had said that there was no way that Mosheou could have jumped.
News24 previously reported that Pakisi had told the court that he had seen the accused pushing Moshoeu from a moving vehicle.
He said he witnessed the teenager crying and pleading for help during the ordeal.
Pakisi also claimed that the accused had driven Moshoeu around while he was severely injured.
Moshoeu’s death sparked protests in the area, with residents claiming he was killed because he was black. The protests led to multiple houses and businesses being burnt down.
Doorewaard and Schutte are out on R5 000 bail each. Sentencing is scheduled for October 18.
Coligny teen murder: 'I hope they remain in jail, I don't have a child because they killed him' – mother
Although the parents of 16-year-old Matlhomola Moshoeu won't ever hear their son's voice again or watch him grow into an adult, the court's decision to find two men guilty of his murder has given them some comfort.
Matlhomola's parents, Saki Dingake and Agnes Moshoeu, said they were happy that "justice has been served" on Wednesday when Judge Ronald Hendricks found Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte guilty of murder in the North West High Court in Mahikeng. "I don't know how long they will be in jail but I think justice has been served," Agnes said.
She broke down during proceedings when Hendricks summarised evidence given by State witness Bonakele Pakisi, who had told the court that he had seen Matlhomola pleading with Doorewaard and Schutte for his life, uttering the words: "Mama help, I am dying."
"I hope they remain in jail until they die. I don't have a child because they killed him," an emotional Agnes said.
"I am not okay because I am always thinking of him. Everything is now coming back and that is why we are emotional," said the teenager's father, Dingake.
He added that he would be happy if Doorewaard and Schutte got a sentence of "50 years" in jail, although it would not bring back their son.
The courtroom was packed with family, friends, neighbours and other community members.
It was mixed emotions as joy, relief and sadness filled the room when judgment was handed down.
Also among those who were in attendance were EFF members who dominated the room with their red regalia.
"We welcome the judgment. We feel vindicated as an organisation. The judgment of today reaffirmed the trust [in] the justice system of the Republic of South Africa.
"We said it before that these people are guilty and now justice has been served," EFF North West chairperson Shakes Botswe told the media after proceedings.
While the defence rushed out of the room after consulting with the two men who were taken back into custody pending sentencing, the State welcomed the judgment.
"We are happy about the court's judgment. It was penetrating, well-reasoned and cautious. We await sentencing," prosecutor advocate Rapula Molefe said.
Sentencing proceedings will begin on Thursday.