/ 6 March 2019

Coligny ‘sunflower’ killers sentenced

(Paul Botes/M&G)
(Tiro Ramatlhatse/Sowetan/Gallo Images)

Two farmers found guilty of murdering a teenager in the town of Coligny were sentenced to 18 and 23 years in jail by the North West high court on Wednesday.

Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte were found guilty in October 2018 of killing 16-year-old Matlhomola Moshoeu as well as of kidnapping, intimidation, theft and pointing a firearm.

Doorewaard and Schutte were arrested after they claimed that they caught Moshoeu stealing sunflowers in 2017 and were on their way to take him to the police station when he jumped off their bakkie on the way and broke his neck.

READ MORE: Coligny: Where a handful of stolen seeds can cost you your life

But, thanks to an eyewitness account and a pathology report which revealed there was no way he could have fallen, Moshoeu was found to have been thrown.

The witness, Bonakele Pakisi, was himself kidnapped by the men and intimidated.

“You kidnapped him, assaulted him and forced him to drink alcohol, and you also pointed at him with a firearm, and his cellphone was also taken away from him,” Judge Ronnie Hendricks said during sentencing.

Moshoeu’s death sparked protests in the area with residents claiming that he was killed because of the colour of his skin. Several houses and businesses were burned to the ground.

On Wednesday Mosheou’s father Saki Dingake said he was not pleased with the sentences, because he had expected both men to receive life sentences.

“I am not satisfied with the sentence they’ve been given,” he said. “I’m not satisfied at all.”

In his judgment, Hendricks said that the farmers’ actions on the day were “disgraceful and appalling” but he also explained why the men were not given life sentences, noting that the murder was not premeditated, and that this was a first offence for each man.

Schutte, who threw Moshoeu from the vehicle, received 20 years for murder and three for kidnapping, and two years of concurrent sentences for intimidation, one for theft, and two for pointing a firearm. He will serve 23 years in total.

Doorewaard received 15 years for murder and the same sentences as Schutte for the other charges. He will serve 18 years.