The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein, Free State, has overturned the conviction of the two men who were jailed for murdering 15-year-old Matlhomola Mosweu in Coligny, in the North West, in 2017.

Farmworkers Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte were sentenced to 23 years and 18 years behind bars respectively by the High Court in the North West in October 2018. They are now free after the SCA set aside their convictions and sentences. They had been found guilty of murder, kidnapping, intimidation, theft and pointing a firearm.

Afriforum chief executive officer, Kallie Kriel, says justice has finally prevailed.

“We are happy about this judgment; you know justice system is not having people that are innocent in jail. From the beginning we knew that they were innocent because it was clear from evidence that the state’s only witness lied. And that is why AfriForum said we would fund the appeal case. We funded everything, we funded Advocate Barry Roux and the rest of the legal counsel. So now were shown to be right and we are happy about that, it’s such a great pain that someone died but we cannot put innocent people in jail, and today we saw justice was done.”

In the video below, Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte found guilty of the murder of Matlhomola Mosweu:

 

At the time of today’s ruling – the two men were out on R20 000 bail each. They were granted the bail in November 2019, pending the appeal at the SCA.

No chance of reconciliation

Last year December, the community of Coligny said they would not reconcile with Mosweu’s killers. The teenager’s death triggered racial tensions in the small farming town. Angry residents set fire to homes and businesses that belonged to White community members.

His mother, Agnes Mosweu, says the witness in the case lives in fear of the killers.

“People can reconcile, but with these people, we will never. Even the witness, Pakisi, lives in fear. He came to me and told me that he is scared because those people are out on bail and they carry guns wherever they go. He doesn’t feel safe.”

Mosweu’s parents say it hurts their family that the convicted murderers have not made attempts to apologise to them. His father, Sakie Dingake, says the killers owe his son an apology.

“We will never forgive them. Our child is no more. He is the person they owe an apology. Maybe if they or their families tried reaching out to us to apologise, we would be feeling better, so we can heal.”

The open field which was once a farm, where Mosweu was accused of stealing a sunflower, is located a stone’s throw away from his home. It is a bitter reminder for his family and the community.

Residents of Coligny say time for reconciliation has not yet come.

“We are not going to forgive those people. Those people must go to jail; they killed. So if the law doesn’t take them back to the cell, we are going to do more. You will see, the whole place will burn. I’m not joking.”