28/04/2017 12:09 SAST | Updated 28/04/2017 16:25 SAST

Coligny Magistrate In Case Of 12-Year-Old Recuses Himself Over Safety Fears

The magistrate said that it is in the 'interest of justice' that he recuse himself

Protestors outside the Coligny Magistrates Court, 28 April 2017.
Pontsho Mabena
Protestors outside the Coligny Magistrates Court, 28 April 2017.

On Friday, the Coligny magistrate overseeing the case of the two men who were arrested this week in connection with the death of a 12-year-old boy in the town, has recused himself from the case.

Magistrate ML van Loggerenberg recused himself from the case in the interests of the safety of himself and his family. Taking the position that he is unable to give the two men accused of murder a fair hearing, the magistrate said "it is in the best interest of justice that I recuse myself from this case".

This follows the violence which erupted in the town this week in response to the death of the boy in an incident involving the two white men.

Hundreds of protestors gathered outside the town's magistrate's court this morning, with placards demanding that the accused are denied bail. The accused, aged 26 and 33, will appear in court again on 9 May for their bail hearing.

Residents claimed the boy was assaulted after farmers found him in a maize field. North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo called for calm in the Ditsobotla local municipality and assured residents that law and order would be maintained.

According to community members interviewed by HuffPost SA, the deceased boy was caught stealing sunflower seeds on a farm near Coligny last week. The two men who are farmers in the area allegedly put the child on the back of their bakkie and wanted to take him to the police station. So far, this version is supported by community members.

Different accounts say the child died after falling off the back of the bakkie, while others say he was beaten and fell over.