Police official 'embarrassed' by handling of Coligny case, court hears

2018-03-23 15:33
Pieter Doorewaard and Philip Schutte appears in the North West High Court in Mahikeng. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

Pieter Doorewaard and Philip Schutte appears in the North West High Court in Mahikeng. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

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A senior police official told the North West High Court in Mahikeng that he was "embarrassed" about the handling of the Coligny murder case.

"I was embarrassed because members of the community said police are not doing their work," Provincial Organised Crime Head Brigadier Clifford Kgorane said.

"I could hear from the community leaders that the suspects involved are known but not arrested," he added.

Kgorane was testifying in the trial of Pieter Doorewaard, 26, and Philip Schutte, 34, who are accused of killing 16-year-old Matlhomola Moshoeu in Coligny. 

Doorewaard and Schutte allegedly caught Moshoeu stealing a sunflower on April 20, 2017.  They claimed that they had driven him to the local police station, but that he jumped off their bakkie along the way and broke his neck.

However, an eyewitness alleges that he was pushed.

Kgorane told the court that the investigating officer told him that he could not change the investigation to a murder because "the witness was mentally ill". 

"I said: 'You are not a doctor to make that conclusion'." 

Kgorane met with the eyewitness, who gave him a description of the accused and told him who had driven the vehicle and who had pushed Moshoeu, the court heard.

He also told the court that, after Moshoeu's death, the vehicle the accused had driven on the day of the incident had not been taken in for investigation. 

Read: Coligny murder trial: 'Accused seemed shocked over Matlhomola Moshoeu's death'

It was only when the accused handed themselves over to the police that he asked for the vehicle to be handed over, he said.

Kgorane added that, after Moshoeu's death, he went to the police station and found school pupils protesting outside. Residents also refused to leave the police station until justice was done, the court heard.

"Community leaders were insisting that the child was killed," Kgorane said. 

The court also heard evidence from Constable Kgomotso Kgabi, who is stationed at the Coligny police station.

Kgabi said she received a call from Warrant Officer Jeremiah Modisane, who told her what had happened to Moshoeu.

She immediately went to the scene and found Moshoeu lying on the ground. Two people were with him at the scene, she said. 

"The boy was lying face down in a pool of blood. He was struggling to breathe," she testified.

Kgabi testified that bystanders told her that two men had asked them to stay with Moshoeu while they went to the police station to request an ambulance. 

"They (the bystanders) looked afraid of being close to him....they told me they never went close to the boy," she said. 

While Kgabi presented her evidence, Moshoeu's parents sat in the front row of the public gallery and listened attentively as she described how she found the boy on scene.

Next to Moshoeu's parents was as a group of EFF supporters.

On Thursday, the court heard that the pair refused to return to the scene after they reported the incident to the police. Warrant Officer Modisane testified that the farm workers seemed "bothered" when they approached him and asked him to call an ambulance.

Also read: Murder-accused Coligny farm workers refused to return to scene, court hears

Doorewaard and Schutte pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, intimidation, kidnapping, theft, the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, and pointing a firearm.

Moshoeu's death sparked protests in the area and some residents claimed he was killed because he was black.

Several houses and businesses were burnt to the ground.

Doorewaard and Schutte are out on R5 000 bail each.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    matlhomola moshoeu  |  mahikeng  |  courts  |  crime

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