Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen have been found guilty. File picture: ANA

Johannesburg - The Middelburg Magistrate's Court verdict this week that the so-called coffin case duo Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson are guilty of attempted murder and kidnapping should serve as a wake up call to racists and those who take the law into their own hands that their "reign of terror" is coming to an end, the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) said on Saturday.

“The criminal justice [system] has demonstrated its commitment to dispense justice to victims of heinous and barbaric crimes committed by those who harbour racial prejudice and those who have always thought that the law will turn a blind eye to whatever atrocities and human right violations they commit against farmworkers and their compatriots who are ignorant of their constitutional rights in our farming communities,” Sanco national spokesman Jabu Mahlangu said.

A harsh sentence when the duo appeared for sentencing on October 23 would serve as a deterrent and remind perpetrators that there was no place in society for unrepentant racists who "think that the law is there to protect them to the exclusion of everyone else".

A stiff sentence would also encourage other victims of atrocities in farming communities to report incidents of human rights abuse and restore public confidence in the criminal justice system.

“Rethabile Mlotshwa’s near death experience which has left him traumatised and shocked the nation is an ordeal that reminds us that the resurgence of racism undermines reconciliation, national unity, and social cohesion,” Mahlangu said.