Cof­fin case is set for trial

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

THE TWO men ac­cused of as­sault­ing farm­worker Vic­tor Retha­bile Mlotshwa and stuff­ing him into a cof­fin made a brief ap­pear­ance in the Mid­del­burg Mag­is­trate’s Court in Mpumalanga yes­ter­day.

The case against Theo Martins Jack­son and Willem Oosthuizen was post­poned to March 23 for trial.

Pros­e­cu­tor Robert Molokoane re­quested the post­pone­ment and said the State’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter would be com­plete by then. The two men will re­main in cus­tody. They were de­nied bail by the same court on De­cem­ber 8.

The al­leged as­sault of Mlotshwa took place at the JM de Beer Bo­erdery in Mpumalanga.

A video of the at­tack went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia, caus­ing a na­tional out­cry.

Mlotshwa was in a jovial mood out­side the court yes­ter­day, shortly af­ter the pro­ceed­ings were con­cluded. He at­tracted the at­ten­tion of a num­ber of fe­male ANC and ANC Youth League mem­bers, who jos­tled for op­por­tu­ni­ties to ei­ther speak to him or pose for pho­to­graphs with him.

“Vic­tor is our hero. We love and sup­port him in this case,” said ANCYL mem­ber Si­bongile Mahlangu, who trav­elled from Siyabuswa, about 120km away, to Mid­del­burg to sup­port Mlotshwa.

About 200 other mem­bers of the ANC and the ANC Women’s League also showed up in sup­port of Mlotshwa. A crowd of about 100 mem­bers of the DA also put in an ap­pear­ance.

Mlotshwa de­clined to com­ment on the case.

The SACP said it would soon em­bark on a pro­gramme to fight against what it called the ex­ploita­tion and evic­tion of farm­work­ers.

“Farm­work­ers who stay in the back­yards of their em­ploy­ers are of­ten be­ing ex­ploited and evicted by their bosses,” said the SACP sec­re­tary for the Ephraim Mo­gale dis­trict, Am­brose Mnisi.

He said the SACP would work with Cosatu and start im­ple­ment­ing the pro­gramme in the Gert Sibande Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“We will not evict white peo­ple from their farms. Vic­tor’s is­sue is not nec­es­sar­ily a mat­ter that can cause their evic­tion. But we are say­ing the ac­cused in this case must be found guilty and get harsh jail sen­tences.” – ANA

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