The famous Coligny sunflower murder trial is expected to resume in the North West High Court in Mahikeng on Wednesday.
Farm workers Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte allegedly murdered Matlhomola Mosweu, from the Scotland informal settlement near Coligny.
The State alleges that 26-year-old Doorewaard, and 34-year-old Schutte, assaulted Mosweu and threw him out of a moving van, on April 20, 2017 at Rietvlei farm near Coligny. They accused him of stealing sunflower heads from their employer Pieter Karsten’s sunflower crop plantation near the informal settlement.
The State further alleges that the pair kidnapped a man who witnessed the incident and forcefully drove around the farm with him in a vehicle, before they assaulted and threatened to kill him if he reported the incident. They also took his cell phone and pointed a firearm at him.
The two men pleaded not guilty to the seven charges levelled against them.
Their version was that Mosweu jumped from a moving van. They denied killing him.
Specialist forensic pathologist Dr Ruweida Moorad had testified in court that Mosweu had 23 different injuries.
She concluded that cause of death was due to “blunt force neck trauma”
The High Court heard from the defence that Mosweu was never assaulted.
Advocate Hennie du Plessis said, “They [the accused] never laid a hand on him, they did not see the need to restrain the deceased as he was cooperating,”
Du Plessis was cross-examining North West provincial head of Organised Crime, Brigadier Clifford Kgorane, in the murder trial.
Du Plessis, for Doorewaard, asked Kgorane whether any empty cartridges were found at the scene as it was alleged gun shots were fired or if anything was found linking the accused to the case.
“Nothing was found linking the accused,” Kgorane replied.
Du Plessis repeated that the accused’s version of the event, stating that they left their employer’s workshop in Coligny at 9am and went to a peanut field to collect some samples on their way back at about 9.30am, they saw two boys stealing sunflower heads from their employer’s field, one of the boys ran into the sunflower fields and the other remained standing.
He said they approached him and asked him to call his friend but, he answered in Setswana and the two could not understand him. The court heard that Doorewaard asked him in Afrikaans to get into the load base of the van and he complied.
He explained that Mosweu was seated on the middle of the load base with his back against the van’s front, when the van reduced speed to negotiate a curve, Mosweu jumped.
“Accused one — Doorewaard — was driving [and] did not see the deceased jump, accused two, Schutte shouted that the deceased had jumped although he did not see him jump.”
He explained that the two concluded that Mosweu jumped, because that was the only “logic”.
The two drove to the police station, they saw a man and a woman and asked them to watch over Mosweu so that vehicles would not drive over him, while they went to the police station to request an ambulance.
At the police station they reported the matter to Warrant Officer Moremi Modisane, who promised to call an ambulance. At around 10.08am, Doorewaard received a call from the Coligny police station that an ambulance had been called.
Du Plessis said the pair did not have emergency medical background and that was why they went to the police station for help.
He questioned Kgorane on whether during his investigation the witness Bonakele Pakisi took him to a T-junction on the intersection of Lichtenburg and Koster road.
Kgorane said he did not go to that intersection and that he interviewed Pakisi and asked him to point out the specific scene to him.
On Monday, the court conducted an inspection in loco, Pakisi pointed out the crime scenes he alleged where he was assaulted, then forced into the load base of the van, before the two drove around with him up to a dam in Putfontein where they wanted to kill him. They allegedly abandoned the idea, fearing that they could have been seen. They forced him to drink alcohol and made him run in front of the van while firing shots at him.
At all this time Mosweu was lying in the van bleeding, the court found that the radius the two drove around was 46.7km.
The trial was postponed to Wednesday.