The Economic Freedom Fighters mobilised a march to the Coligny Police Station on Friday morning to protest against alleged racism in the North West town, but there was at least one person in the march they weren’t expecting to see: a grey-haired white woman trying to have her say.
They EFF had earlier said they were expecting about 5 000 people to join their march.
The previously almost unknown hamlet of Coligny has dominated headlines for weeks after two white farmers were accused of killing a black teenager after he allegedly stole sunflowers from them.
Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte allegedly caught 16-year-old Matlhomola Mosweu on April 20.
The two were given bail last week despite the black community being opposed to it.
The farmers say the teenager jumped from their moving bakkie and died in the accident while trying to escape being taken to the police station. Their opponents believe he was thrown.
Residents of the informal settlement he came from said one of the accused allegedly previously killed two people, the recent being last year.
Racial tensions have been running high in the town, with opinions about whether the men are guilty often divided along racial lines.
In a tweet last week, EFF leader Julius Malema alleged that Afrikaner-rights group AfriForum was “sending private security” to Coligny in North West to “protect racist white farmers”.
In language suited to a battlefield, he said that “our people” would need to be “reinforced”.
The rural community of 2 000 people has been in uproar for weeks, with homes torched and even reporters attacked, allegedly by farmers.
When what was presumably a local white woman tried to address the EFF marchers on Friday, protesting that “everyone has freedom of speech”, she was stopped by protesters, with even the police stepping in to try to apparently get her to change her mind.
Take a look at the video below, uploaded to Twitter by Jacaranda News.
— Jacaranda News (@JacaNews) May 19, 2017
The EFF’s Papiki Babuile had earlier told the media that they were not only protesting the magistrate’s decision to release the “killers”.
He alleged that numerous other such cases have been reported to the police in the area, but nothing ever happens.
“The first step is that people must take account for what happened; the killings, abuse of our people in these areas and after that we can reconcile,” he was quoted as saying by EWN.
The party’s march will culminate with the submission of a memorandum to the provincial police commissioner that will include a list of cases from community members allegedly abandoned by the police.