Farmer could be free next year
A farmer might walk out of court a free man next time he appears on a charge of murdering a boy, 11, he says he mistook for a rabid dog.
Marcel Nel, 39, of Thabazimbi, Limpopo, has admitted to shooting dead Sello Pele on June 29 in the head on his property after mistaking him for a rabid dog that was terrorising livestock on his farm.
Nel took the child to hospital in his vehicle, but he was reported dead on arrival.
A decision on whether to continue with the case, despite Nel's confession and after several adjournments, will be made when he appears in the Thabazimbi magistrates' court on February 16.
On July 17 magistrate Eddie Mashili released Nel on R10 000 bail, sparking violent protests by black people in the town.
Things became ugly that day in the tiny mining town when angry residents pelted the court with an assortment of missiles, resulting in Nel spending hours trapped inside the court building.
As police tried in vain to sneak Nel out of the court, the demonstrators became more violent as they bayed for his blood, angered by his release on bail. They demanded that Nel be released into their hands.
Peace was restored only after the police public order unit arrived in armoured Casspir vehicles and opened fire on protesters who had barricaded the court entrances.
Scores of men, women and children were injured and 18 others arrested and charged with public violence.
While Nel was in custody, Thabazimbi police received anonymous telephone threats that they would be killed if Nel was not released.