NEWS

Coffin Assault: Prison Is Better Than A Coffin, Says ANC

08/12/2016 16:50 SAST | Updated 08/12/2016 17:15 SAST
REUTERS
Theo Martins and Willem Oosthuizen (R) appear in court after an online video emerged showing them pushing Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin and threatening to burn him alive, at the Middleburg magistrates High Court, in Mpumalanga.

The ANC in Mpumalanga says justice has been served after the two men who allegedly forced Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin and threatened to pour petrol over him were denied bail in the Middelburg Magistrate's Court.

Magistrate Jongilizwe Dumehleli delivered his judgment in the case of Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen on Thursday morning.

"We want them to feel how it feels to be in a coffin. Prison is better than a coffin," ANC regional chairperson Speedy Mashilo said.

"We are very satisfied with the judgment and how the judge [magistrate] handled the case. We hope this will serve as a lesson to others."

In his judgment, Dumehleli dealt with evidence presented to him by the State and the defence.

He said he had considered Jackson and Oosthuizen's personal circumstances, and he had to ensure that justice was done.

'It's good they will be spending Christmas in jail'

He rejected the men's version that Mlotshwa had stolen copper cables.

He said it didn't appear that the two accused owned a funeral parlour, and it concerned him that they had a coffin.

The gallery was packed to capacity with members of the public, ANC supporters, and journalists.

After judgment was delivered, ANC members danced and sang outside court, with some saying that "it is good they will be spending Christmas in jail".

During their last appearance, Jackson and Oosthuizen told the court that they had merely wanted to teach Mlotshwa a lesson.

In both their affidavits, they said that their actions were "negligible" and that they did not mean any harm.

They also requested the court to grant them bail and said they would make R5 000 available.

They assured the court that they would not interfere with witnesses or influence Mlotshwa.

Charges of kidnapping and assault

During their two-day bail application proceedings, the court heard that Mlotshwa was kicked all over his body and that his hands were tied with a cable.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Dimakatso Bahula told the court that, on August 17, Mlotshwa left his place of residence and noticed two Land Cruisers following him.

She said the bakkies stopped and the two men assaulted Mlotshwa, and kicked him without any explanation.

Jackson and Oosthuizen had previously abandoned a bail bid.

They are facing charges of kidnapping and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

The alleged assault of Mlotshwa took place at the JM de Beer Boerdery, next to the Komati power station in Mpumalanga.

In the 20-second video of the incident, which was posted on YouTube on November 7, one man, speaking in Afrikaans, forces Mlotshwa into a coffin and threatens to pour petrol over him.