Witness breaks down during testimony in Coligny murder trial

2018-06-06 15:02
The key witness in the Coligny murder trial Bonakele Pakisi. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

The key witness in the Coligny murder trial Bonakele Pakisi. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

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A key witness in the Coligny murder trial broke down as he testified in the North West High Court in Mahikeng on Wednesday, forcing the judge to briefly adjourn the matter.

Bonakele Pakisi told the court how he witnessed 16-year-old Matlhomola Moshoeu being pushed from a moving vehicle on April 20, 2017. He broke down and lost his composure as he relived the incident.

Judge Ronnie Hendricks was forced to adjourn the matter for a few minutes to allow the 28-year-old to recover as he battled to speak. 

Pakisi was testifying in the trial of farmworkers Pieter Doorewaard 27, and Philip Schutte, 34, who are accused of killing Moshoeu in Coligny last year. The pair claim they caught Moshoeu stealing a sunflower on April 20, 2017.

SEE: Stealing Sunflowers, a News24 documentary 

Doorewaard and Schutte said they intended to drive him to the local police station, but that he jumped off their bakkie along the way and broke his neck.

Dressed in a maroon shirt and blue jeans, Pakisi told the court that on the day of the incident, he heard gunshots coming from the sunflower field. 

'He was bleeding through his mouth, nose and ears'

He also claimed that he heard Moshoeu crying and screaming: "Mama help, I am dying."

Read: Coligny trial: Key witness says slain teenager pleaded for his life

Pakisi said he saw the accused assaulting Moshoeu and then pushing him from a moving vehicle. He said when the accused saw him, they apparently asked him what he had seen. 

"I told them I saw nothing," he testified. 

Pakisi also alleged that the accused drove him around with Moshoeu, who was severely injured.

"He (Moshoeu) was injured on the face. He was bleeding through his mouth, nose and ears. I couldn't speak to him because I was told to lie down," he said. 

He said while Moshoeu lay in the bakkie injured, the accused "did nothing to assist him". 

"Accused two (Schutte) instructed me to check if the child was still alive. They also instructed me to take off my jersey in order for me to wipe his blood. They said I should lift the child but his [head] was hanging, so I didn't know if he was still alive," he said.  

'The police told me that I was crazy'

Pakisi also alleged that the accused forced him to drink alcohol and when he refused, he was then assaulted.  

He said after drinking the alcohol, he felt dizzy and started vomiting. 

"They hit me with open hands and clenched fists. They hit me on the face...they forced me to eat my own vomit," he said. 

He said they then said they were taking Moshoeu to the clinic. 

"I went to the police station the same day and the police told me that I was crazy," he said, adding that another officer said he was drunk. 

Also read: North West police officer testifies he felt pressure working on Coligny murder case

Moshoeu's death sparked protests in the area as some residents believed he was killed because he was black. Several houses and businesses were burnt to the ground.

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

Doorewaard and Schutte are out on R5 000 bail each.

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

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