RACE WAR

RAGES IN NORTH WEST

CityPress - - Front Page -

ne 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 coac­cused, 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.

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.

FURY Pro­test­ers in the North West town of Licht­en­burg, near Coligny, bar­ri­caded roads and burnt trucks, in­clud­ing a po­lice Nyala, this week, de­mand­ing ser­vice delivery and hous­ing Har­vard Univer­sity stu­dent Mfundo Radebe with his mother, Nobuhle Zwane

UP­SET A res­i­dent weeps after her home was set alight by an an­gry mob in Coligny

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.