The two men were found guilty of kidnapping, assaulting and attempting to kill Victor Mlotshwa.
The Democratic Alliance in the Mpumalanga province has welcomed the guilty verdict handed down in the case against Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen by the Tshwane high court sitting in Middelburg last Friday.
The DA’s Jane Sithole said both the men showed no remorse throughout the duration of the trial for assaulting Mlotshwa.
“This verdict sends a strong message that racism in any shape or form will not be tolerated in South Africa,” she said.
“It also once again highlights the need for rural safety units to be reinstated for the protection of all those living in outlying areas,” Sithole said in a statement.
“The DA believes that we must strive to build a society that is free of conflict and fear and that all South Africans must stand up against racial hatred,” she said.
Oosthuizen and Jackson were convicted on Friday (25 Aug 2017) of the attempted murder, kidnap and assault stemming from the 2016 incident that was caught on a video clip and went viral on the social networks.
SEE ALSO: Coffin racists told Victor Mlotshwa ‘if you run we’ll shoot you’
A first witness has been called by the state to come testify in the coffin assault case.
The employer of one of the accused in the assault of Victor Mlotshwa said the foot-path on which Mlotshwa was stopped and confronted is used by a number of people without permission but as farm-owners they often have problems when people use it to pass to their houses because of the issue of theft.
“We have a problem with it,” Johannes de Beer told the Delmas high court.
“But we don’t confront people for using it because it happens all the time,” he said.
He told the court that the coffin used by Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins in the video clip was bought by his father some time ago and was kept in a store-room.
He said when he learnt through the social media that his employee, Martins, had used it to assault and force Mlotshwa inside, he fumed and confronted him.
“I confronted him about the incident and told him to take that coffin because it’s now his own,” he said.
“I also told him to go and hand himself over, but did not say where and he left the job after that but I don’t know whether he went to hand himself over to the police or what,” de Beer told the court on Monday.
“My father bought two coffins and a man who worked on the farm used another one to bury his family member. The other one was kept in the store room,” he said.
The trial will continue on 10 August 2017.
Oosthuizen and Martins were arrested in November 2016 for allegedly assaulting Mlotshwa and forcing him into a coffin on a farm near Middelburg.
The two men are charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, intimidation and assault and are out on a R1,000 bail each.
Their arrests came after the incident, captured on a cellphone video went viral on the social media.
They abandoned their bail applications on 16 November 2016 after they were informed the incident had angered many people but returned on 14 July 2017 to ask the court to reconsider granting them bail.
Groups from the ANCYL, EFF and DA demonstrated outside court throughout the day on Monday as the men were making their appearance.
In a 20-second video, the accused are seen forcing Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin, one of them threatening to pour petrol on him.
Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen are on Friday back in the Middelburg Magistrates court to re-apply for bail.
The two have been behind bars since late last year after they abandoned their bail application, saying they were fearing for their lives after the incident caused mass demonstrations outside court by major South African political parties.
But later on they approached the court to ask it to grant them bail but then the bail application this time was denied.
An investigating officer told the Middelburg Magistrates Court during their bail application appearance last year that on 17 August 2016 Mlotshwa noticed two Land Cruisers following him while he was walking at the JM de Beer Boerdery near the Komati power station And when he stopped the two men got out of the cars and assaulted him, threatening to burn or burry him alive.
They face charges of kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm as well as attempted murder.