Case withdrawn against man charged with Lichtenburg teen protester's murder

The man accused of shooting and killing 15-year-old Joseph Tshukudu, during protests in Lichtenburg in the North West last year, is a free man for now after the charges against him were provisionally withdrawn.

It was alleged that Jaco du Plooy opened fire on a group of protesters, killing the teen and injuring two others in the process, in October last year.

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Du Plooy, who claimed that he was protecting himself and the lives of his workers, was charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder.

However, on Tuesday, police spokesperson Captain Aafje Botma told News24 that the case had been withdrawn "for further investigations".

In October last year, a group of residents from the Blydeville community in Lichtenburg torched a truck on the R503 Lichtenburg-Coligny Road, leading to the temporary closure of the road. They demanded the delivery of basic services and wanted then North West premier Supra Mahumapelo to address them.

'I am not violent'

Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said at the time that a man travelling in a white car got out of his vehicle and opened fire on the protesters. Later that night, Du Plooy handed himself over to the police.

During his appearance in the Lichtenburg Magistrate's Court in October last year, Du Plooy told the court that Tshukudu was part of a violent crowd who intended to kill them.

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In his affidavit, read out by his lawyer Peet du Plessis, Du Plooy claimed: "I am innocent... I am not violent."

Captain Ratane Monyai, who testified during the bail application, told the court that Du Plooy fled the scene after realising what he had done.

"The deceased was hit in the forehead, between the eyes," Monyai said.