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Mbalula, Sanef condemn attacks on people, media in Coligny

Community members in Coligny are up in arms after two men accused of killing Matlhomola Moshoeu were granted bail.

Community members say they've had enough, calling the granting of bail to two men accused of killing Matlhomola Moshoeu a racist decision. Picture Masa Kekana/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Fikile Mbabula has said in a tweet that South African Police Service is monitoring the situation at Coligny and that he condemns the attack on the people and the media.

Earlier on Monday Eyewitness News reported that a third house had been torched in the North West town allegedly by community members who are angry over the granting of bail to two men accused of murder.

Anger erupted after two men accused of murdering a 16-year-old boy were granted bail of R5,000 each.

Pieter Doorewaad and Phillip Schutte allegedly assaulted Matlhomola Moshoeu last month and then threw him out of a moving bakkie.

Mbalula and the South African National Editors Forum have condemned the attacks on journalists covering the ongoing protests in Coligny.

His spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga said: “The minister is condemning the violence, the injuring of people and in particular the attacks on journalists who are supposed to carry that message and grievances to South Africans.”

Residents went on the rampage torching property shortly after the bail verdict.

Magistrate Magaola Faso says the two accused successfully met the requirements for bail and he is satisfied they will not interfere with State witnesses or the case.

“The aim is not to punish the accused who are suspected of committing a crime, even when the charge against them is of a serious nature.”

One of the homeowners blamed journalists for their behaviour and pulled out a gun.

Protesting community members say the justice system has proven unfair and are angry that bail was granted to the two accused.

“A black man’s life is very cheap in South Africa. Black people will always suffer because they don’t have the financial means. So, they haves of this world will always have their way.”

Another community member says the decision was racially charged.

“If it was a white man killed, they could’ve done something. But because it is a black man, they do nothing.”

The protesters arrived at a fourth farm on Monday afternoon, where they had planned the next arson attack but police arrived in time to disperse them.

POLICE ON HIGH ALERT

Police remain on the scene of the latest attempted arson attack in Coligny.

Officers are guarding a property there; it’s the latest to be targeted by angry community members.

Earlier police dispersed a crowd of protesters, they’ve since regrouped and are throwing stones at officers.

Some have threatened to burn more house to show their anger over the court’s decision to grant two alleged murderers bail.

However, one woman who’s neighbours house was burnt, says she won’t be intimidated.

The police minister says his officers are monitoring the area for any further flare-ups.

At the same time, the representative of the boy’s family Stanley Meyakama says the parents are distraught by the decision and have since been taken to a hospital.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)