Several farms and houses belonging to whites in the South African town of Coligny (North West Province) have been attacked and burned by mobs of blacks after a local court released two white farmers on US$360 bail after they were falsely accused of murdering a 16-year-old black thief.
The two white farmers—Pieter Doorewaard, 26, and Philip Schutte, 34, were yesterday granted R5,000 bail each by the Coligny Magistrate's Court after local black police pressed murder charges against them—because the black victim, Matlhomola Mosweu, jumped off the back of their pickup truck and died of a broken neck while being driven to the police station.
Doorewaard and Schutte had carried out a citizen’s arrest when they had caught Matlhomola stealing crops on their farm on April 20.
Despite there being no evidence of any foul play, the police, in conjunction with the local black prosecutor, decided to press murder charges against the two whites, who have spent the last two weeks in jail awaiting a court appearance.
The court took a dim view of the charges, and ordered the two released on the low bail because, as the Magistrate said, there “was not yet enough evidence to link the two men with the witness testimony.”
This act was however enough to cause local blacks to erupt in an orgy of violence against all whites in the area.
Several farms, houses, and other white-owned premises—including a local hotel—were subjected to arson attacks, looting, and robberies by rampaging black mobs.
Riots then ensued across the town, with police being forced to use teargas and rubber bullets to subdue the mobs.
According to Coligny AGS church minister Dr. Herman Meyer, many shops in the “town are completely destroyed. People who have been living in Coligny for 60 years lost everything within 24 hours.”
Meyer said that not only were shops looted, but offices were set on fire as well.
Coligny, a maize-producing town that was once a center of diamond mining, is 50 percent white and 43 percent black, according to the 2011 census.