Coffin case is set for trial
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