22 March 2019

South Africa: New Home for Moshoeu Family

The family of Matlhomola Jonas Moshoeu, who died following an assault over picking a sunflower, have a new home of their own.

On Thursday, North West Premier Job Mokgoro handed over a newly built house to the family of Moshoeu who was killed in April 2017 after being assaulted by two local farmers accusing him of stealing sunflowers from a local farm.

Built as a donation by Gift of the Givers Foundation, a fully furnished two bedroomed house with an open plan kitchen and lounge, is located just outside the Scotland informal settlement in Coligny, where the family has been staying in a shack.

Addressing residents who attended the handover event, Premier Mokgoro said government has an inherent responsibility to provide adequate and proper housing to the most needy.

He said the humanitarian act by foundation will go a long way in assisting government to fulfil its mandate to provide habitable human settlements to the poorest of the poor.

"This is a partnership that is exemplary of what can happen if government and its social partners work together towards a common cause - Matlhomola's life will never be replaced but this house will stand as a memory to try and heal our brutal and divided past as a people, co-existing on both sides of the divide as black and white communities," said the Premier.

Mokgoro said the provincial government and its partners saw it befitting to hand over this house on Human Rights Day, saying that Matlhomola's death reminds many people of the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, and that his death is viewed as a continuous battle for freedom and human rights.

Matlhomola's mother Agnes, thanked the Foundation and the provincial government for remaining steadfast in their commitment to assist them, saying the house will be a reminder of how Coligny residents, the provincial government leadership and the broader society stood by the family's side during tough times.

Project Coordinator of Gift of the Givers Foundation, Emily Thomas, said the foundation is hopeful that the house will be turned into a home.

"With this house, we want to say to the Moshoeu family that as a country, we were crying with them at the time of their son's death, and that we hope that the house will bring them joy and special memories," said Thomas.

Premier Mokgoro was joined by MEC for Local Government and Human Settlements, Motlalepula Rosho.

Moshoeu, who was a Grade 6 learner at Hakbokslaagte Primary School in Coligny, died on the 20 April 2017 and the two farmers accused of brutally assaulting him, Phillip Schutte and Pieter Doorewaard, were eventually found guilty and were early this month sentenced to 18 and 25 years in prison, respectively.

Moshoeu's death sparked violent protests by Coligny residents in 2017, which resulted in the destruction of properties and looting of local shops.

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