A South African court on Wednesday convicted two white farmers of murdering a 16-year-old black boy suspected of stealing sunflowers in a remote northwestern farming community.
Pieter Doorewaard and Philip Schutte were found to have killed Matlhomola Mosweu on April 20 last year, after claiming they caught him in the act of taking a plant from a farm in the area.
The boy died after being thrown out of a moving vehicle driven by the pair and suffering a broken neck, in a case that sparked rioting and looting of white-owned businesses in the town of Coligny.
The men had claimed that the teen jumped off the truck as they drove him to the police station.
Judge Ronald Hendricks also found the pair guilty of kidnapping and intimidation.
Racially charged incidents between white farm owners and managers and poor black farmhands are common in South Africa.
In 2016, two white farmers in the eastern Mpumalanga province forced a black man they accused of trespassing into a coffin.
The case sparked outrage after a video of the incident emerged on social media and the two were handed jail terms of 19 and 16 years.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Aug. 1 that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) plans to change the constitution to allow the expropriation of land in cases of unused land, derelict buildings, and circumstances where occupiers have strong historical rights, informal settlements and abandoned inner-city buildings, as whites still own most of South Africa’s territory.