An explosive report in Afrikaans weekly Rapport on Sunday suggested the only eyewitness in the Coligny murder trial has had a change of heart. The paper said it had heard a recording in which Bonakele Pakisi said he wasn’t telling the truth when he claimed in testimony that farm workers Pieter Doorewaard, 27, and Phillip Schutte, 34, murdered 16-year-old Matlhomola Moshoeu in April 2017.
The pair were found guilty last year in a case that was dubbed the Coligny sunflower murder. The matter was postponed for sentencing until January 28 to allow the defence and the state to prepare for mitigation and aggravation of sentencing arguments. Community members, including Economic Freedom Fighters members in red party regalia, had regularly packed the public gallery during the trial.
Doorewaard and Schutte were ruled to have assaulted Mosweu and thrown him out of a moving bakkie on April 20 2017 at Rietvlei farm near Coligny after accusing him of stealing sunflower heads from their employer Pieter Karsten’s sunflower plantation. Judge Ronnie Hendricks also found them guilty of kidnapping, intimidation, theft and pointing of a firearm. They claimed, however, that Mosweu had jumped from the vehicle and was not pushed.
They claimed they intended taking Mosweu to the police station, but he died after jumping off their moving bakkie. The state alleged the murder was premeditated. The death set off a mass violent protest in Coligny that left six houses and three trucks torched and several shops looted and damaged.
Rapport revealed that a preacher from Mahikeng, Paul Morule, told the paper that Pakisi had admitted to him he had lied and could no longer stay silent about it.