Coffin assault victim Victor Mlotshwa (in the middle) addresses the crowd outside the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga on Friday, while Mpumalanga Human Settlements MEC Speedy Mashilo (left) looks on. PHOTO: ANA Reporter

Middelburg - Coffin assault victim Victor Mlotshwa on Friday called on the court to impose 15-year jail sentences on Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson, who were each found guilty on various charges including assaulting and attempting to murder him in the Middelburg High Court sitting in the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court.

Speaking outside the court, Mlotshwa told a crowd of African National Congress (ANC) members that he was satisfied with the judgment.

“I thank you all for supporting me since the start of this case,” Mlotshwa said.

“Justice has finally been served. They have been found guilty. I will find closure now. A minimum of 15 years for each of them will be good.”

Oosthuizen and Jackson were arrested late last year for assaulting Mlotshwa and shoving him into a coffin. The incident was captured on a video that went viral on social and other media platforms. 

The case was postponed to October 23 for sentencing and bail was extended for Oosthuizen and Jackson. 

Addressing the same crowd outside the court, Mpumalanga Human Settlements MEC Speedy Mashilo heaped praises on State prosecutor Robert Molokoane; investigating officer Constable Dimakatso Bahula; and Judge Sheila Mphahlele, saying they did a good job on the case.

“The prosecutor was one against the advocates, but he has proved that our people can stand up against difficult things,” Mashilo said.

“This prosecutor has won. When we say justice must be fair, we mean it must be fair like this one. It is very bad thing for a person to be put into a coffin. We welcome the fact that they have been found guilty.”

Democratic Alliance official Sonia Mogola said her party was satisfied with the judgment, but called on the government to improve the safety of the people in rural areas of Mpumalanga.

Mphahlele acquitted Oosthuizen on a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm. She found both Oosthuizen and Jackson guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm for assaulting Mlotshwa and another farmworker Dalton Sithole, kidnapping Mlotshwa, attempted murder on Mlotshwa and intimidating Mlotshwa. 

She also found Jackson guilty on a charge of obstructing the cause of justice.