Theo Martins Jackson (right) and Willem Oosthuizen inside the court before they were sentenced. Picture: ANA

Cape Town - Amnesty International on Friday welcomed the sentence handed down to two white farmers who assaulted and forced a black farm worker into a coffin in Middelburg in Mpumalanga.

The human rights NGO was responding to news that Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson were on Friday sentenced to 11 and 14 years imprisonment respectively in the Middelburg High Court.

The two men were convicted of assaulting farm worker Victor Mlotshwa and shoving him into a coffin, threatening to pour petrol over him and set him alight. A video of the incident went viral on social media and other platforms. The duo were also convicted of the assault of another farm worker.

Coffin assault victim Victor Rethabile Mlotshwa outside the Middleburg court. Picture: ANA

Read: #CoffinAssault: Duo jailed for attack on farmworker

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"The conclusion of this grotesque case sends a clear – and welcome – message that acts of racism or discrimination will not be tolerated in South Africa," said Shenilla Mohamed, executive director of Amnesty International South Africa. 

"The government must now move with speed to finalise the Hate Crimes legislation in order to deal decisively with incidents of discrimination."

Following several incidents of racist behaviour caught on social media, the South African government responded by saying it would introduce draft legislation in the form of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.