Remorseless Coligny duo got light stick
The sentencing of two Coligny farmworkers for killing teenager Matlhomola Mosweu two years ago was met with mixed emotions yesterday but muted in comparison.
In April 2017, residents of the small North West town were torn apart as tensions flared in the aftermath of Mosweu's killing.
The murder of the 16-year-old opened deep emotional scars of apartheid and racial segregation as properties owned by whites were set alight.
The flare up served as a stark reminder of simmering tensions and deepening inequality between blacks who depend on white-owned farms for work and whites who largely own businesses.
Mosweu lived in Scotland, an informal settlement. Both his parents are unemployed.
His life was cut short after he was accused of stealing sunflower seeds on a local farm.
Phillip Schutte, found guilty of throwing Mosweu out of a moving bakkie, told the Mahikeng high court during the trial that the teenager had five or six sunflower heads in his hand worth approximately R60.
Yesterday, Schutte was sentenced to 23 years in prison, while his co-accused Pieter Doorewaard was sentenced to 18 years.
Mosweu's parents expressed disappointment and hurt that the pair were not jailed for longer.
Their hurt is justified.
But Judge Ronald Hendricks said the offence of murder was not planned and premeditated but it happened on the "spur of the moment".
"There was no direct intention to kill the deceased but the accused must have foreseen an impact or saw the possibility throwing the deceased head-first from the van may result in his death, and acted recklessly with regards to the ensuing consequences," he said.
Reactions from the community varied but one thing was clear, that Schutte and Doorewaard would be appealing their sentence because they believe they were wrongfully convicted based on supposedly "false" evidence of the single witness in the matter.
That witness, Bonakele Pakisi, is an unsung hero who risked it all to testify against the men for justice to be served.
For their disregard of Mosweu's young life, lack of remorse and compassion for his family, both Schutte and Doorewaard deserved longer time in jail.