The case against two farmers accused of killing a 12-year-old boy in Coligny, North West, was on Friday postponed amid protests by angry members of the community.
Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte entered the court handcuffed and with their heads covered by hooded jackets. Their case was postponed to May 9 for a formal bail application.
The pair face charges of murder and attempted murder.
Magistrate Mattheus van Loggerenberg postponed the case and recused himself from hearing the matter, citing the interests of justice and the safety and security of himself and his family as residents of Coligny.
A new magistrate will hear the bail application on May 9.
The boy died after allegedly jumping out of, or falling off, a bakkie driven by one of the farmers. The men had allegedly loaded the boy on to the bakkie after accusing him of stealing mealies on a farm.
Speaking on Friday to Saturday Citizen, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority Frank Lesenyego said the suspects were remanded in custody.
Through their legal representative, they asked the court that the police allow their relatives to bring them blankets in the police holding cells where they are being kept in custody as it was too cold for them.
A huge police contingent was deployed at the court. Outside, residents of Tlhabologang sang liberation songs and waved placards calling for the accused not to be granted bail.
Access to the courtroom was given only to journalists, community leaders and religious leaders due to the small capacity of the courtroom.
The death of the as yet unidentified boy sparked violent protests in which houses were burnt to the ground, shops were looted and schooling disrupted.
Meanwhile, Cabinet called for calm and stability following the violent protests.
This week’s protests came in the wake of protest action in another troubled area, Vuwani, where there is a total shutdown. Children have been barred from going to school and businesses not allowed to operate.
Cabinet said it was concerned by the recent upswing in violence in Vuwani following the decision by the Municipal Demarcation Board to incorporate it into a new municipality.
“Cabinet strongly condemns the use of our children as a negotiation tool. The weeks of school shutdown dampens the future of these children, who are placed under additional stress.
Violence, intimidation, vandalism or actions that lead to schools being destroyed or [pupils] deprived of going to school has no place in our democracy.”
– Additional reporting by ANA.