South Africa: Coligny 'Sunflower' Case Tells Us White Lives Matter More Than Black Lives in Small-Town South Africa

analysis

Last week the Supreme Court of Appeal reversed a decision of the High Court and acquitted Pieter Doorewaard and Philip Schutte of the murder of 15-year-old Mathlomola Jonas Mosweu near the town of Coligny. The judges (in three separate judgments) all agreed that the police botched the investigation. But the judgment remained silent on the impact that racial attitudes in the town (including attitudes of white superiority) may have had on the way the matter played out.

If you read the Afrikaans newspaper Rapport this past Sunday, you might well be convinced that Pieter Doorewaard and Philip Schutte were victims of a grave injustice, framed by the police, the prosecution and a High Court judge for the murder of a 15-year-old black child. If you are an acolyte of Gauteng MEC Panyazi Lesufi, you may believe that the two white farmers are indeed guilty of murdering Mathlomola Jonas Mosweu, and that the SCA judgment was a travesty of justice inspired by judicial racism.

Pieter Doorewaard. (Photo: Deon Raath)

However, if you actually read the SCA judgment (which, evidently, few of those who have commented on the case have done), you may be left with more questions than answers. You might...

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