Farmer’s alleged history of racism

2017-04-30 06:02
One of the two men accused of killing a 12-year-old boy in Coligny arrives at the magistrates’ court on Friday. The North West town was a hotbed of racial tension this week, with residents demanding that the men be denied bail. Picture: Tebogo Letsie

One of the two men accused of killing a 12-year-old boy in Coligny arrives at the magistrates’ court on Friday. The North West town was a hotbed of racial tension this week, with residents demanding that the men be denied bail. Picture: Tebogo Letsie

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

WATCH: Coligny bail bid postponed

2017-04-28 13:38

The bail application for the two accused of killing a 12-year-old boy in Coligny, North West has been postponed.WATCH

One of the farmers accused of killing a 12-year-old boy near the North West town of Coligny was accused five months ago of “jokingly” pushing a black man off his bicycle with his bakkie.

Simon Moremi, 60, holds a receipt handed to him by the police after reporting the incident on November 1 last year.

“I was on my way to the farm [where he worked] to get my UIF forms signed. That Pieter [Doorewaard] of Pieter Karsten [his uncle and employer] drove into me with his bakkie as a joke,” he said.

“The white people of Coligny do not take care of our black people.”

Moremi went to the police to report the assault on him. But police spokesperson Happy Masidi confirmed that the case number registered the incident as a traffic accident.

Doorewaard took him to the clinic after the attack, but never fulfilled his promise to replace his bicycle, Moremi said.

Karsten, the owner of several businesses looted in Coligny this week, said he remembered the accident.

He added that his nephew took Moremi to the clinic to show “that he was not injured” and denied that he drove into Moremi intentionally.

This incident, as well as the recent death of another black child in the area for which nobody was arrested, has fuelled the flames of hatred in the small town.

Today marks 11 days that the body of the boy allegedly killed by Doorewaard, 27, and his co-accused, Phillip Schutte, 34, has lain unclaimed in the government mortuary in nearby Lichtenburg.

His killing sparked violence and destruction this week, and left the town simmering with bitter racial tension.

From religious to political groups, community leaders have been asked to help find his family.

Local school principal Stanley Mnyakama has spent the week combing the area in search of the child’s relatives.

“We have been to Scotland [the informal settlement near where the boy died] many times and we spoke to people there, but no one seemed to know the boy.

"We have expanded our search to the farms in the area,” said Mnyakama.

“All we have is the name Kabelo Fani, which is written on one of his takkies.”

A young man and woman, who asked not to be named, told City Press on Friday that they were walking in the area towards Scotland when they saw the young boy’s body lying on the ground 11 days ago.

“I did not go any closer to the boy because I can’t take the sight of blood,” the young woman said.

“And after we saw a bakkie with two white men in it make a U-turn a distance away down the road, and drive back to the spot where the boy was, we decided to keep walking.

“We were too scared to stand by and risk being accused of stealing sunflowers.”

By yesterday, the police still had no witness statements, and no official version existed about how the boy died. A postmortem is yet to be conducted.

"Had enough of racism"

Residents say the boy and a friend, who is now in witness protection, were found in or near the sunflower field by Doorewaard and Schutte, who allegedly accused them of stealing.

The two farmers, who appeared in court on Friday, reportedly told police that they were taking the children to the police station when the child jumped off the moving bakkie. Black residents, however, believe that the child was beaten.

The bearded Doorewaard and Schutte walked into court and sat crestfallen in the dock as Magistrate Mattheus Lodewikus van Loggerensberg described the young boy’s death as “tragic”.

Van Loggerensberg, a longtime resident of Coligny, recused himself from the case, citing safety concerns for his family. He called for a “neutral” magistrate for “justice to be seen to be done and no perception of bias to exist”.

The case was postponed to May 9.

On Friday, in the same area in which the boy was killed, two young boys aged 12 and 13 emerged from the same sunflower field, each holding a sunflower.

Asked if they knew that a boy their age died there, they were quick to say, while eating the seeds, that they did not steal the sunflowers, but picked them up from the ground.

Numerous black residents of Coligny said they “have had enough of racism”. They protested outside court, demanding the men be denied bail.

Meanwhile, heavily armed white residents continued to guard their properties on Friday, while others went out to clean the town’s only main road, Voortrekker Street.

Cash loan business owner Andries Meintjies said: “I was born here in 1953 but have never seen Coligny like this. I mean, the whole town was almost reduced to rubble in a day.”

Three houses belonging to whites were burnt, along with three trucks and a tractor.

Businesses the length of Voortrekker Street were damaged and looted during protests by angry black residents calling for the farmers’ arrests.

“A lot is being said about racism, but some of us don’t see any because our clients are mostly black.

"I would not support any form of racism and if the accused people are found to be in the wrong, they must be punished accordingly,” Meintjies said.

“The white community is very scared after all the destruction; everyone is concerned and we don’t want the chaos to come back.”

But Festus Modise, a resident of Tlhabologang township, said racism was “alive” in Coligny.

“It is so rife that even black workers in a local supermarket are trained to prioritise white customers over their own black people.

"All we want is to feel like we are in democratic South Africa and not some island where apartheid still exists,” he said.

TALK TO US

How should racism be eradicated in small towns like Coligny?

SMS us on 35697 using the keyword RACISM. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50

Read more on:    pieter doorewaard  |  racism

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
Watch: Investing in the future through child development

An investment of R32-million into 11 early childhood development centres is changing the future for children in the Northern Cape.

/Africa
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.