Coligny case postponed after magistrate recuses himself

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People protest outside the Coligny Magistrate's Court. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)
People protest outside the Coligny Magistrate's Court. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

There was drama in the Coligny Magistrates’ Court today as the two men accused of killing a boy in the North West farming town had their bail hearing postponed, the magistrate recused himself, and protesters sang and chanted outside court as a large police contingent kept watch.

News24 reported that the two men appeared scruffy and looked tired.

During the hearing, the small public gallery was packed to capacity with journalists and community leaders.

Magistrate Mattheus van Loggerenberg ordered that the media should not take pictures of the men because an identity parade was pending.

He said taking pictures of the accused would tarnish the investigations, and said they had been positively linked to the crime.

Van Loggerenberg recused himself from the case, saying he feared for the safety and security of the community of Coligny and that of his own family.

Prosecutor Khetheni Mudau asked the court to postpone the matter to May 9 for a formal bail application.

The post mortem report was still pending, Mudau said. Meanwhile, the boy’s body still hasn’t been claimed.

Read: Who is the boy for whom Coligny burns?

The area was engulfed in violence following the death of the boy.

There are conflicting reports around his death, but residents who believed it was racially motivated went on the rampage, setting alight houses and trucks.

Residents who were on the receiving end of the attacks armed themselves.

Read: Coligny residents take up arms as houses are set alight after attack on boy

In the past few days, police have arrested 48 people and North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo has appointed “a high level task team” to probe the reasons behind the violence.

Read: Coligny violence: 48 people arrested, premier appoints task team

A number of residents protested outside court on Friday morning, calling for the court not to grant the accused bail.

There was a high presence of police officers who kept a close watch.

Although the situation was calm in the town, police said they would continue to monitor the situation.

The case was postponed to May 9 for a formal bail application. – Additional reporting by News24

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