Lichtenburg businessman Jaco du Plooy has cited safety concerns as the reason why he drew a firearm and fired shots, leaving 15-year-old Joseph Tshukudu dead on Tuesday.
Du Plooy has been charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder. He was remanded into custody.
Du Plooy said in an affidavit supporting his bail application in the Lichtenburg Magistrates’ Court this morning that he was afraid he would be attacked, robbed or be killed.
He said he was driving in his bakkie with his workers in the back when they found themselves in a “life-threatening” situation facing “about eight” people with stones in their hands.
He had learnt of a service delivery protest on the news, and had seen social media posts and reports that a truck had been torched earlier.
And then he found that the road he was travelling on barricaded.
State prosecutor Rebaone Mokgosi said a witness, who is a local councillor, will testify that he was talking to three men when Du Plooy pulled up.
Mokgosi said the councillor was enquiring about alternative routes after he found Tshukudu and two others redirecting motorists away from the barricaded road.
Investigating officer Captain Ratati Munyai reiterated this. He said the three were assisting motorists.
He said if they were there to attack motorists they would have attacked the councillor.
“They were using their hands, signalling to motorists to go back and use alternative routes. The suspect came out and fired three shots ... the deceased was hit in the forehead between his eyes,” he said.
“A councillor who was there tried to stop [Du Plooy] so he could see what he had just done [referring to Tshukudu’s body] but he drove off,” he said.
The councillor, two other men who were with the deceased and a Joseph Esengmang, who witnessed the shooting, were expected to testify for the state.
Mokgosi said they had asked Du Plooy to put them in contact with the four workers who were present but said they were unable to get hold of them because their phones were off.
They were yet to give their statements to the police.
Meanwhile, Mokgosi and Munyai had opposed bail for Du Plooy, saying his safety would not be guaranteed due to the community’s anger.
Houses were burnt earlier this year in Coligny by angry community just moments after the court granted bail to two white men accused of killing a 16-year-old boy.
Munyai said he was afraid the same could happen in Lichtenburg, especially because the community knew where Du Plooy’s parents lived.
He said Du Plooy’s wife had told him that he has fled the farm live on and was staying with friends in town.
Cheers could be heard outside the court after a large crowd of picketing community members were informed of the court’s decision.
There was a heavy police presence, which monitored them as they ran through the town towards Blydeville township.
Du Plooy will find out next Thursday if he will be granted bail.
He offered to pay R20 000 bail and has already pleaded not guilty, saying he was acting in self-defence.
Meanwhile, Tshukudu’s family said they did not know where to start with his funeral arrangements citing financial difficulties.
Tshukudu shared a one-bedroomed shack with his parents.
“They boy’s mother is unemployed and I have just started working this month. I don’t know where to turn and this is adding salt to our wounds,” said his father Willem Motlhoki.