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Rustenburg - Several high-profile murder trials will continue in North West province in the new year, with the sentencing of the Coligny killers set down for January.

The High Court in Mahikeng in October convicted two farm workers, Pieter Doorewaard, 27, and Phillip Schutte, 34, of the murder of teenager Matlhomola Mosweu, a crime that sparked race riots.

Judge Ronnie Hendricks convicted them of murder, kidnapping, intimidation, theft and pointing of a firearm.

Mosweu, 16, of Scotland informal settement in Tlhabologang, was assaulted and pushed out of a moving fan near Coligny on April 20, 2017 after Doorewaard and Schutte allegedly saw him stealing sunflower heads.

The defence claimed they intended to hand him over at the Coligny police station after they caught him stealing at their employer's plantation on the Rietvlei farm. The court rejected their version, and also denied them bail pending sentencing. 

Sentencing proceedings are set to resume on January 28 in Mahikeng. 

The Coligny case was one of five murder trials that made headlines in the province in 2018.

In Blydeville near Lichtenburg, Spencer Tshukudu, 15, was shot dead during a violent service delivery protest.

It is alleged he was shot by 46-year-old Jaco du Plooy, while Tshukudu he was diverting traffic away from the protest, some 700 metres further along the road. He was felled by a bullet between the eyes.

Du Plooy, who comes from Rietfontein near Lichtenburg, was arrested, but was discharged by the High Court in Mahikeng when ballistic reports revealed that the bullet that killed Tshukudu was not fired from his gun. An inquest is underway.

In Majakaneng south of Brits, the family of Tebogo Ndlovu, 24, spent their second Christmas without him. Ndlovu went missing on August 2, 2017 after he was shot in the leg while allegedly stealing on a farm together with his two cousins.

Matthew Benson spotted them and allegedly chased them while shooting at them. Ndlovu was hit in his leg and his friends attempted to carry him while fleeing from Benson but he was too heavy and they left him behind under a tree. 

Benson was arrested but was cleared of all charges that included murder and attempted murder after his legal team applied to the High Court in Pretoria for him to be released under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act. The State conceded that it has no case against him.

In Mahikeng, Headman Njokweni and Sifiso Ndawonde are on trial for the murder of North West primary school teacher Thulisile Ngwenya, 56.

She was reported missing on October 21 2017 and her car was found near a Nedbank branch in Mahikeng. After she went missing, R2,500 was withdrawn from her bank account at Southgate in Johannesburg.

Her half-naked body was discovered on October 25. 

The State alleges the accused kidnapped Ngwenya, raped her and killed her in October 2017.

Xander Bylsma, 19, stands accused of the murder of Sharnelle Hough, 17, and Marna Engelbrecht, 16, at Stella High School. She was due to stand trial in the North West High Court in the new year.

She was arrested after the bodies of Marna Engelbrecht, 17 and Sharnelle Hough 16, were found at the high school hostel.
 
Engelbrecht was found hanging from the rail of the staircase in the hostel, while Hough was found with a string around her neck in the bathroom.

African News Agency (ANA)