Brigadier Clifford Kgorane, the lead investigator in the Coligny sunflower murder case, was voted the best policeman of the year in North West. Photo: ANA/Molaole Montsho

Rustenburg - The lead investigator in the so-called Coligny sunflower murder case, Brigadier Clifford Kgorane, was voted best policeman in the North West at the South African Police Service (SAPS) provincial annual excellence awards ceremony in Rustenburg on Friday night.

Kgorane heads the family violence, child protection, and sexual offence (FCS) unit as well as the stock theft unit. He is also tasked with investigating serious crime.

Kgorane took over investigations in the Coligny case following violent protests in the sleepy maize town. This was after Matlhomola Mosweu, 16, was killed by Pieter Doorewaard, 27 and Phillip Schutte, 34 on April 20, 2017, after they caught him stealing sunflower heads at their employer's field at the Rietvlei farm near Coligny.

Mosweu's death triggered mass violent protests that left six houses and three trucks burned out and several shops looted and damaged. His death also divided the community along racial lines, with the black community believing he was killed for being black and the white community believing his death was an accident.

North West best cop, Brigadier Clifford Kgorane, says hard work and sleepless night led to him voted the best cop in North West. Video: ANA/Molaole Montsho

Kgorane told the North West High Court during the recent trial that he was embarrassed by the manner in which the case was investigated. He said the case was initially registered as an inquest, but added that he was concerned because he was told there was an eyewitness.

He conceded that the crime scene was contaminated and no proper investigation was done by the initial investigating officer who had dismissed the sole eyewitness in the incident as a mentally disturbed person when he reported the murder of a teenage boy to police. Doorewaard and Schutte have been found guilty and are due to be sentenced on January 28, 2019.

Other serious cases Kgorane investigated included the kidnapping of a businessman in Mahikeng, a murder and attempted murder in Letlhabile, and he also led operation kolomala (clean up) in Rustenburg, where 19 people were arrested. All these cases were currently on the court rolls.

Brigadier Clifford Kgorane, the lead investigator in the Coligny sunflower murder case, was voted the best policeman of the year in North West. Photo: ANA/Molaole Montsho

North West police commissioner Lt-Gen Baile Motswenyane said Kgorane was "fearless like an eagle". "Recently he went to a farmer in the Ventersdorp area who is alleged to have been stealing cattle. He told the farmer that today I am going to lock you up," Motswenyane said.

Kgorane was presented with a certificate, a trophy in the shape of an eagle, and R10,000. He was also voted the best senior operations manager of the year.

Kgorane said he was excited to be voted the best cop in the North West. "I am very excited to have won this [award]. It is dedicated to my co-workers. It is through hard work and sleepless night that I was able to achieve this," he said.

African News Agency (ANA)