The state’s high court bid to have two men accused of killing a teenage boy in Coligny sent back to prison hit a snag this week ahead of the pair’s court appearance on Monday.
An application for leave to appeal the decision to grant bail to the two was struck off the roll by the North West High Court in Mahikeng on Thursday.
This was just after the state and defence argued procedure, looking into whether the application was properly brought to court, before they could even present their case.
Meanwhile, Coligny residents were expected to once again demonstrate outside the local magistrates’ court, where the two men were expected to appear on Monday.
For the first time, the two men will drive themselves to court.
Before they were freed on bail last month, police had their hands full keeping the angry demonstrators away from the court.
Every time the police vehicle transporting them left the court house, insults were hurled at them and, at one point, a stone.
In what has been widely interpreted as a racial incident, Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte are accused of killing 16-year-old Matlhomola Moshoeu on April 20.
They said the deceased jumped out of a moving bakkie after they apprehended him.
They said he was found stealing sunflowers from their boss’s plantation and were on their way to hand him over to the police when he “jumped” off.
The state insists the duo, aged 26 and 34, killed the teenager.
The incident plunged the usually sleepy farming town of Coligny into chaos.
Several houses were torched and businesses were looted in a spate of violent protests.
Protesters were calling for the police to arrest the two men.
More violence returned to the area moments after they were granted bail on May 8, and at least one farm house was torched. The community was not happy that Doorewaard and Schutte were granted bail.
READ: Coligny burns again, moments after men accused of murder are granted bail
Coligny found itself divided along racial lines during the bail hearing, with one petition signed by black residents against bail and another one signed by whites supporting the pair’s release.
The violent protests subsided after North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo went to Coligny and promised to fight for bail to be revoked.
Although the prosecution would not admit it, it is believed political pressure and the public outcry led to their application in the high court for leave to appeal Magistrate Makgaola Foso’s decision to grant bail to the two.
However, the application was struck off the roll even before the state could explain on what grounds they wanted the two accused man back in jail.
Provincial National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Frank Lesenyego, said they had “filed relevant documents to the court so we can get a date” for the application to be heard.
“The court then asked for the state and defence to argue procedure in which the state filed leave to appeal and our application was struck off the roll based on procedure only.
"The state was still applying its mind in terms of our way forward,” he said.
“We will know by the end of next week what to do next.”