08/05/2017 11:56 SAST | Updated 08/05/2017 11:56 SAST

Court grants Coligny murder-accused bail

Two farm workers accused of killing a teenager for stealing have been granted bail of R5,000 each

The mother of 16-year-old Matlhomola Moshoeu attends her son's burial at the Scotland extension 81 graveyard on May 7, 2017 in Coligny. (MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Coligny Magistrate's Court in North West province has granted bail to the two farm workers accused of killing a teenager, allegedly sparking violent protests in the area.

"There is no link between the said witness evidence [of the alleged crime] and the two accused persons at this stage," Magistrate Makgaola Foso said.

They were granted bail of R5 000 each.

The court gallery was packed with reporters and members of the public for the application of Pieter Doorewaard, 26, and Phillip Schutte, 34.

Matlhomola Moshoeu's parents sat in the front row, accompanied by relatives.

Members of the community, including a large group of pupils, protested outside the court while police kept a close watch.

The pair allegedly caught Moshoeu, 16, stealing sunflowers on April 20. They said they were driving him to the local police station when he allegedly jumped off their bakkie and broke his neck.

An eyewitness alleges he was pushed off. Some residents said he was killed because he was black, which apparently sparked the protests in the area.

Prosecutor Khetheni Mudau said the protests stopped when the men handed themselves over to the police on April 25, which was an indication that the protests were not related to service delivery.

The men's lawyer, PJ Smith, told the court they believed the allegations made by the state's witness did not corroborate a statement he made to police officer Brigadier Clifford Matome Kgorane.

Smith said the court should consider that the accused handed themselves over to police.

Moshoeu, whose name means "sorrow", was buried at the Scotland informal settlement in Coligny on Sunday.