Two men accused of killing a young boy in the small farming town of Coligny will know their fate on Friday following another postponement of their bail hearing today.
The bail application proceedings could not be wrapped up on its second day with the state yet to call its last witness.
The two accused, Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte, aged 34 and 27 respectively, could not wait until May 9, to when case was initially postponed in their first appearance last Friday.
They approached the North West High Court, which allowed their bail application to be heard earlier.
The pair sat in the dock the whole day, listening to Schutte’s lawyer Hennie du Plessis arguing their way out of the holding cells.
Yesterday they described the holding cells as being too bad for them to stay in, citing hygiene issues and that they had to use the toilet in full view of other cellmates.
Du Plessis raised issues on how the accused could be linked to the matter when an identity parade was yet to be held.
Today marked the 14th day since the death of Matlhomola Mosweu, whose family said he was 17. His age was initially pegged at 12.
Police witness and investigation supervisor, Brigadier Clifford Kgorane, told the court that an eyewitness was interviewed a few days later but they were yet to hold an identity parade.
He confirmed that a post-mortem was also conducted and the body was thoroughly examined but said pathologists were still compiling their report.
Meanwhile, the defence and state continued to lock horns, with each side trying to promote their version on how the boy died.
The defence maintained that Mosweu died after jumping off the suspects’ moving vehicle after he was apprehended by them after allegedly stealing sunflowers from their fields.
Kgorane said, according to their witness, the accused pushed the young man out of a moving vehicle. They made a U-turn, spotted the witness and asked him if he had seen anything.
He said the witness would testify that he was forced to drink alcohol and run in front of the accused’s bakkie while shots were fired in his direction.
Du Plessis asked if Kgorane had any other statements from anyone else that would corroborate his witness’s, to which he responded in the negative.
Kgorane said he was not expecting the two accused to have left Mosweu on the scene and drive to the police station.
He said if it was him he would have “used his cellphone to call the emergency line, to call the police to say I was standing at the scene where somebody jumped out of a moving vehicle”.
Du Plessis argued that the two men went to seek help at the police station and reported the incident because, having no emergency medical training, they could not help the injured boy.
Meanwhile, another state witness, Warrant Officer Moremi Modisane, said he attended to the two men when they arrived at the police station.
They reported the incident, saying the boy had jumped out of a moving vehicle and was injured, but they refused to go back to the scene with him.
“They said they had somewhere else to go and instead gave me their contact numbers and addresses,” he said.
“I arrived at the scene and found the boy lying face-down in a pool of blood and bleeding from the ears. He later died,” he said.
Modisane told the court the two accused had, on at least two occasions while he was on duty, brought in people they accused of stealing from their fields.
“The suspects were often minors,” he said.
Modisane said he never saw or was shown the sunflower allegedly stolen by the deceased.
When asked by Magistrate Makgaola Foso, he said he was not aware of any incident where any child accused the two men of assaulting them after finding them allegedly stealing.
Meanwhile, there were fears that Coligny could be plunged into chaos if the pair was granted bail.
Violent protests swept through the small town last week with the angry community calling for the speedy arrests of the accused.
The protests ended after the two were locked up but now more than 130 signatures of the white community were handed to the court as those of people in support of the accuseds’ release.
Outside the court yesterday and today, a large crowd of black community members demonstrated, singing and dancing while holding placards, calling for the two men to be denied bail.
“Just lock them up so that there could be peace in Coligny,” one community member said.