Coffin duo's sentences should be a deterrent - minister

2017-10-27 19:46
Coffin assault accused Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson back in court for hail hearing (Lerato Sejake, News24)

Coffin assault accused Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson back in court for hail hearing (Lerato Sejake, News24)

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WATCH: Coffin assault duo found guilty

2017-08-25 15:10

The two accused in the coffin assault case have been found guilty in the Middleburg Magistrate's Court. WATCH

Pretoria – The imprisonment sentences imposed on the coffin assault duo should act as a deterrent against racist and inhumane acts, Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said on Friday.

The pair, Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson, were sentenced to 11 and 14 years respectively in the Middleburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

They were convicted of assault, attempted murder, kidnapping and intimidation charges for forcing Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin and threatening to pour petrol on him. The coffin was later burnt out and Jackson was also sentenced for defeating the ends of justice.

Judge Segopotje Mphahlele described their conduct as "humiliating and disgusting" when she imposed the sentences.

Reacting to the sentences imposed Kubayi-Ngubane said the government was pleased with the sentences and that the judgment was a clear demonstration that the South African law was devoted to ensuring that those who commit crime were brought to book.

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Families of coffin assault duo had to sell their possessions to survive

“This serves as a deterrent to other perpetrators of these inhumane and racist acts against the rights of any individual,” she said in a statement.

She added that the government was initiating various programmes to promote unity, reconciliation, nation building and cohesion and said it was important to acknowledge that building a non-racial society required a two-way process and dialogue, particularly in a society that had emerged from centuries of colonialism and apartheid.
 
“As South Africans, we must strive to build one national identity out of multiple identities based on colour, class, gender, age, language, geographic location, and religion.”

The Economic Freedom Fighters said the political party also found Oosthuizen and Jackson guilty of anti-black racism which was the sole motivator of their hate crime.

'Justice is served'

“We welcome the sentencing as a victory of justice, which will motivate our people to report more of the hate crimes of white racists in both farm towns and cities,” EFF spokesperson Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement.
 
“Many other racists continue to pursue their hate crimes without consequences. This includes some of the already reported cases which, owing to the fact that they do not receive media attention, are not attended to.

“We urge the SAPS and the NPA never to hold back on these cases as they can be won and restore justice to the back body.”

READ: Coffin assault judgment will be lesson for racists - Mlotshwa

The Democratic Alliance also welcomed the sentences, saying that they sent a strong message that racism, in any shape or form, will not be tolerated in South Africa.

“The DA believes that we must strive to build a society that is free of conflict and fear and that all South Africans must stand up against racial hatred and bigotry,” said DA MPL James Masango.

“Racism has no place in South Africa and today, justice was served.”

During their trial, the two men argued that they had to act when Mlotshwa allegedly threatened to burn their crops and murder their wives and children.

They claimed to have caught Mlotshwa stealing copper in late 2016.

After the pair was sentenced, the court revoked their bail and dismissed their application for leave to appeal their sentences.

Read more on:    victor mlotshwa  |  racism  |  crime

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