23 October 2017

South Africa: Coffin Case Back in Court for Sentencing

Photo: allafrica.com
Left: Screenshot from the video showing Victor Mlotshwa being forced into a coffin. Right: Judge's gavel (file photo).

Sentencing in the case in which two men forced another into a coffin will be handed down at the Middelburg Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Judge Segopotje Sheila Mphahlele ruled that Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson were guilty of assault, attempted murder, kidnapping and intimidation.

"The verdict will be a lesson to those who are engaging themselves in racism," victim Victor Mlotshwa had said.

"I am feeling very good that they have been found guilty. I always said I wanted justice."

During the previous proceedings, the court gallery was packed to capacity with ANC, EFF and DA supporters.

Following the verdict, Mlotshwa's mother Lonia said she wanted the accused to be "sentenced for what they did to my son".

"They messed ... with his head. It took time to take him to doctors in order to help him get his mind back to normal," she said.

The ANC's Speedy Mashilo said the party hoped for not less than 15 years for the accused.

During their two week long trial, the accused argued that they had to act when Mlotshwa allegedly threatened to burn their crops and murder their wives and children.

Jackson told the court that he was told to "get rid" of the coffin because it was causing trouble. The coffin would have been used as crucial evidence in the case.

During his evidence-in-chief led by his lawyer Org Basson, Jackson said he never considered what they did to Mlotshwa as wrong.

Mlotshwa had previously testified that Jackson made use of the knobkerrie to assault him all over his body, but "mostly on the back".

He also said the duo had used cable ties to restrain him.

They were granted R1 000 bail in July after reapplying for bail.


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