Two white South African farmers responsible for killing a 15-year-old Black boy was sentenced to a combined 41 years behind bars in the racially motivated murder.
In April 2017, the teen, Matlhomola Mosweu, was reportedly caught stealing sunflowers off of a farm some 125 miles away from Johannesburg. The farmers — Pieter Doorewaard, 28, and Phillip Schutte, 35, — were found guilty Wednesday of murder, kidnapping, intimidation, theft and pointing of a firearm.
According to The New York Times, the pair of supposed do-gooders did not intentionally kill the victim. Initial reports that they discovered the teen and loaded him onto the back of a pickup truck in an attempt to take him to a nearby police station.
They further claimed he jumped off the truck, landing on his head and broke his neck. In Judge Ronald Hendricks' ruling, he described the actions by Doorewaard and Schutte as "disgraceful." He also strongly suggested the teen did not jump off of the truck but was thrown off.
"Murder is undoubtedly the most serious offense that can be committed," Hendricks said via a report from Al Jazeera. "You picked up the deceased and threw him from the van onto the ground. Your actions that day were indeed disgraceful."
JUSTICE FOR YOUNG TEENAGER KILLED BY FARMERS#Justice
— iTV SA (@itv_sa) March 7, 2019
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Doorewaard received a sentence of 18 years for his part in the killing, and Schutte was given a 23-year prison sentence.
Matlhomola's death nearly two years ago set off a series of riots and protests in the small town of Coligny. White-owned business felt the pent-up frustration of centuries of oppression from the indigenous people. With the backdrop of South African land seizures, the uprising was only one symptom of unbalanced power in the nation.
"I was thinking that it will be a longer sentence, but it did not happen, so that hurts me," Matlhomola's father, Saki Dingake, told media following the court proceeding.
"But I will try to move on so that my son can rest in peace. I am always thinking too much, especially about Matlhomola. His death was not an acceptable one. It was not from God, it was deliberate. I still repeat that the sentence was too lenient."
Others in the peripheral of the case played a vital role in delivering justice to the teen's parents.
Sowetan Live reports the teen's body was located by Stanley Mnyakama, who spent four days after the killing to find Matlhomola's parents. He believed the farmers only received a slap on the wrist. A sole witness, Bonakele Pakisi, was subjected to threats for testifying against Doorewaard and Schutte. He hopes to move on with his life and that the victim's parents find peace.
Matlhomola's mother is glad the men are being held accountable for their crimes.
"I will finally be able to sleep at night knowing that the people who killed my son are locked up," Agnes said after the ruling. "I feel nothing for them [Shutte and Doorewaard] they are still alive but my son is dead."
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