Victor Mlotshwa (right) testifies in isiZulu in the Middelburg High Court in Mpumalanga, while court interpreter Mokgethwa Sekete (right) interprets. Picture: ANA
Victor Mlotshwa (right) testifies in isiZulu in the Middelburg High Court in Mpumalanga, while court interpreter Mokgethwa Sekete (right) interprets. Picture: ANA

#CoffinAssault: Mlotshwa shares how he was tormented

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Aug 2, 2017

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Middleburg - Coffin assault victim Victor Mlotshwa on Wednesday cried as he told the Middelburg High Court in Mpumalanga that he got into the coffin because he could no longer endure the pain caused by Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson while they were allegedly assaulting him.
 
Mlotshwa started his testimony by speaking in a confident voice but later broke down. He insisted that the so-called coffin accused, Oosthuizen and Martins assaulted and shoved him into a coffin in August last year.
 
"Accused number two (Jackson) opened the coffin and told me to get into it. Accused number one (Oosthuizen) told me he would shoot me if I ran away," said Mlotshwa on Wednesday.

"I refused to get into the coffin and they both assaulted me with their fists all over my body. Accused number two went to his bakkie and came back with something like a knobkerrie and also hit me with it all over the body. I was so scared. I kept asking them what was happening, but none of them answered me. 

Accused Willem Oosthuizen talks to his parents Gert Oosthuizen (seated) and his mother Tinka Oosthuizen in the Middelburg High Court in Mpumalanga. Picture: ANA

"I then thought it better to get into the coffin as I could no longer endure the pain, but my upper body remained outside the coffin. Accused number one kicked and pressed me into the coffin with his foot."

Asked by State prosecutor Robert Molokoane if he saw a gun in Oosthuizen's possession, Mlotshwa replied in the positive, saying the gun was on Oosthuizen's waist.
 
Oosthuizen and Jackson were arrested late last year and face charges including attempted murder, kidnapping, intimidation and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. 

The incident, which happened on a farm near Middelburg, was captured on a video that went viral on social media. 

The Middelburg Magistrate's Court granted each of the accused R1 000 bail on July 14 after their previous bail application was denied by the same court in December last year. Both the accused on Monday pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Mlotshwa testified on Wednesday that the incident started when he was approached by a bakkie allegedly driven by Jackson which came from the direction of Bethal, while he was standing on the side of a tar road and preparing to hitch-hike for a ride to Middelburg to buy some grocery items for his mother. 

Wife of accused Willem Oosthuizen, Chene Oosthuizen (first from left), and his parents Gert and his mother Tinka Oosthuizen listen to proceedings in the Middelburg High Court in Mpumalanga. Picture: ANA

He said he decided to walk on the footpath through the mielie field towards the tar road in order to reach his destination quickly. Mlotshwa told the court that Oosthuizen also arrived in another bakkie and they allegedly assaulted him and tied his wrists together with a cable tie and loaded him onto the back of Jackson's bakkie. 

Jackson drove him to a secluded spot, followed by Oosthuizen in another bakkie, where the alleged incident happened, he added.

While Mlotshwa was testifying about what the two accused did before they loaded him onto Jackson's bakkie, Oosthuizen was seen making gestures with his hands and whispering to one of the members of his legal team sitting in front of him.

Judge Sheila Mphahlele asked Oosthuizen's lawyer, Advocate Wayne Gibbs, to ask his client to stop making gestures. She also told Oosthuizen to behave himself.

Mlotshwa later became too emotional and Molokoane asked the court to postpone the matter to Thursday. He said about 20 police officers would be deployed to court on Thursday for safety of the court officials.

The courtroom was not as packed as usual and Oosthuizen's family members were also sitting in the front row of the public courtroom’s public gallery during proceedings. They included his wife Chene Oosthuizen, his father Gert and mother Tinka Oosthuizen. 

The trial is expected to be concluded on August 10. 

African News Agency

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