South Africa 12.5.2017 03:11 pm

Truth needed to rebuild Coligny, says premier

The premier met with farmers and white residents who had raised issues of security and were committed to rebuilding the farming town.

Coligny cannot be rebuild without telling the truth, North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo said on Friday.

“It is the responsibility of all of us to rebuild Coligny, we are not going to rebuild Coligny without confronting the truth that our people need land and are poor,” he said at a public meeting in Tlhabologang, near Coligny.

He told the meeting that he had met with farmers and white residents who had raised issues of security and were committed to rebuilding the small maize-producing town.

Mahumapelo visited Coligny following days of violent protests that left at least six houses and three trucks torched, while shops were also looted and the town shut down.

Violent erupted on April 24 after 16-year-old boy Matlhomola Jonas Mosweu was killed, allegedly by two farmers, Pieter Doorewaard, 26 and Phillip Schutte, 34, on April 20.

The two claimed they caught him stealing a sunflower at their employer’s field near the Scotland informal settlement and had loaded him into the back of a van intending to hand him over to the police. According to them, he had jumped out of the moving van and sustained severe neck injuries and later died in hospital.

But an eyewitness had told the police Mosweu was thrown out of the moving van.

Local residents went on rampage demanding the arrest of the two men, leading to destruction of property largely belonging to white residents of the town.

The protest stopped after the two men handed themselves to the police on April 25, before appearing in court. The men were subsequently released on bail on May 8, which sparked further violent community protests.

Mahumapelo himself, was accused of inciting violence at Mosweu’s funeral on May 7.

At the funeral Mahumapelo told mourners that Mosweu died at the hands of two white males and the court must not look into who killed him, but how he was killed.

On Friday, Mahumapelo told the community he would not retract his statement as according to him he did nothing wrong in terms of the law.

Mahumapelo was well received in Tlhabologang on Friday when he announced that a cleansing ceremony would be held on Saturday, where cattle are due to be slaughtered.

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