Outcome of coffin assault case shows racism won't be tolerated

Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen appear in the High Court sitting at Middelburg magistrates court on 23 October 2017

On Friday, Jackson and Oosthuizen were finally sentenced to 11 and 14 years in jail respectively in the High Court sitting in Middelburg.

In August the pair were found guilty of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm‚ attempted murder‚ intimidation and kidnapping.

"Whilst in the coffin they threatened to set it alight".

"'The conduct of the accused was most dehumanising and disgusting", said the judge, Segopotje Mphahlele, when handing down the sentences.

Oosthuizen was handed 11 years for his role as an accessory to the crime whiles Jackson bagged 14 years as the main culprit.

She added that the government was initiating various programmes to promote unity, reconciliation, nation building and cohesion and said it was important to acknowledge that building a non-racial society required a two-way process and dialogue, particularly in a society that had emerged from centuries of colonialism and apartheid.

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The crime committed against Mlotshwa and the sentences imposed by the court highlight the need for the strengthening of the law with regard to crimes of hate speech and hate crimes in South Africa, Mathusa said in a statement. "They took the video to show what they do with the black man".

A video of the incident went viral on social media and other platforms.

"Why shouldn't we, when you are killing our farm?" one replied.

The two said they had caught Mlotshwa trespassing on their farm in possession of stolen copper cables.

To scare him from carrying out his threat they said they put him in the coffin and threatened to burn him alive in the hope that he would be too frightened to return and told they court they should have gone to the police.

Mr Mlotshwa denied making any threats to the two farmers.

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