If only he was still alive, the mayhem and destruction would not have ensued.The death of a teenager in the once peaceful town of Coligny has ignited a rage that has divided the North West farming town along racial lines.
Before April 20, the town’s people worked alongside each other and shopped at the biggest supermarket, the OK grocer on the main road, Voortrekker Street.
Now all that is left are shattered windows, burnt homes, and anger. Businessmen are trying to rebuild, repair and restock following violent protests that started over two weeks ago.
The small maize-farming town, where the poorest residents live in RDP houses and shacks, became a war zone when 16-year-old Matlhomola Mosweu was allegedly killed by two farm workers on April 20.
Some claimed he was killed because he was black. Others said the protests that erupted were about service delivery.
On Monday, the Coligny Magistrate’s Court granted the two accused, Pieter Doorewaard, 26, and Philip Schutte, 34, R5 000 bail each.
A new wave of protests broke out. Businesses shut their doors and angry residents torched four houses and faced off with police.
The two men allegedly caught Mosweu stealing sunflowers on April 20. They claimed they were driving him to the local police station when he allegedly jumped off their bakkie and broke his neck. An eyewitness alleges he was pushed.
Sitting in his bakkie, with his hands on the steering wheel, the 46-year-old man said: “I am afraid that the town is now divided.
“There are lots of things going on coming from both sides of the community, with some crying racism. We have never had a problem with anything and anyone – not even race was a factor,” the man said.
“Even the guy that is working for me is scared to come to work. He works three days a week. He came in this morning and he left early.”
The father of five said he had been living in the town for more than a decade. As protests continue, his only worry was that businesses and property were being destroyed and he feared many families would lose their income as a result.