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Pupils, parents in limbo after Coligny protests

Crime & Courts
Coligny – Schooling in Tlhabologang, near Coligny, resumed at slow pace on Thursday, following days of unprecedented violent protests in the area.

Learners in their uniforms braved the chilly morning weather as they walked to school first time since protests started on April 24.

At More High School learners were in classes by 8am, while at Reboneilwe Secondary School some learners were seen roaming the street in their gold and navy uniforms.

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More High School learners ready for their day in class after violent protests rocked Coligny. Picture: ANA

Some learners could be seen basking the sun in the school premises.

Those roaming the streets claimed they were going home to fetch some books they accidentally left at home.

At Matlape Public School, learners were at school, but only four teachers were available.

The learners were allowed to go home and told to come to school on Monday. Coligny Special School, Coligny High School and Primary School were closed.

These schools were expected to open on Monday. During a community meeting in Tlhabologang on Wednesday it was agreed that school would be opened as from Thursday.

"There is still confusion whether schools are open or not. There is also issues of security some parents wanted to be sure that it is safe before they allow children to go to school," said Eunice Baitseng, a concerned parent.

Schools were shut down on April 24 when residents went on a rampage burning three houses and three trucks and loot shops.

They were demanding the arrest of two white farmers are accused of causing the death of Matlhomola Jonas Mosweu, 16, of Scotland informal settlement near Tlhabologang.

Four days before the protests erupted, Pieter Doorewaard, 26, and Phillip Schutte, 34, allegedly caught Mosweu stealing sunflower from their employer's crop field near an informal settlement.

There is no fence around the field. The pair put the 16-year-old schoolboy in their bakkie.

They later claimed Mosweu jumped out of a moving bakkie while they were taking him to the police station. Mosweu suffered serious neck injuries and died while was being taken to hospital.

However, an eyewitness later told the police that Mosweu was thrown out of the moving van.

The protests only stopped after the two handed themselves to the police on April 25.

On Monday the violent protests and running battles with the police resumed after the magistrate's court granted the accused pair bail of R5 000 each – this was just a day after Mosweu was laid to rest.

Three house were torched during the protests. The situation was calm on Thursday, businesses in town were operating and municipal workers were busy cleaning streets.

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