NEWS

Coligny Tensions Barely At Bay As MEC's Address Collapses

As murder-accused Pieter Doorewaard and Philip Schutte are granted bail, the community of Coligny has rejected the MEC's proposal for a way forward.

09/05/2017 15:59 SAST | Updated 09/05/2017 16:01 SAST
MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images
Residents from the Scotland informal settlement in Coligny hold a sign reading 'No bail, enough is enough' during a protest outside the Coligny Magistrate court on May 8, 2017.

North West Community Safety MEC Mpho Motlhabane's attempt to address a public gathering in Coligny collapsed as crowds rejected proposals for a way forward for the embattled town.

Motlhabane was relaying the resolutions of a meeting held on Tuesday morning to devise a way forward following violent attacks in the North West town. The meeting included community, farming and business leaders determined to put an end to the town's spate of violence and racial tensions.

Visibly irate members of the crowd at the subsequent public address at the Thlabologang sports grounds rejected many of the MEC's proposals aimed at restoring calm in the town and addressing the demands of fuming residents.

Motlhlabane told the crowd an urgent court application would be made to appeal the bail granted to two farmers, Pieter Doorewaard and Philip Schutte, accused of the murder of 16-year old Matlhomola Moshoeu. He also said a task team would be set up to investigate complaints of collusion between police and farmers in the form of bribes.

External police would also be deployed to the town to enhance security, the MEC said, which those present at the gathering strongly rejected following yesterday's altercation between police and protesters. Police on Monday fired rubber bullets at protestors accused of throwing stones and attempting to carry out attacks on farms.

An appeal for parents to ensure their children go back to school was the nail in the coffin for Mothlabane who was subsequently sung into silence and summarily dismissed by a crowd not willing to budge.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Mokgwabone earlier told reporters outside the Coligny municipal building the community meeting had been a success and no further incidents are anticipated at this stage.

The apparent hopes of many attending the meeting that a workable plan going forward was on the cards, however, strongly contrasted the reception of the resolutions at the Tlhabologang sports grounds.

A group in the crowd sang 'Dubul'ibhunu... [kill the farmer]' shortly before the MEC's address commenced, followed by persistent interruptions and sporadic heckling.

Mothlabane said North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo would address the community on Friday.