‘I thought I was dying’

PIC:  (Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, Beeld)
PIC: (Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, Beeld)

Victor Mlotshwa (20)‚ the coffin assault victim who made headlines earlier this year is a happy man. Following last week’s Middelburg High Court ruling that the two men who forced him into a coffin before threatening to burn him alive are sentenced to more than a decade in prison each, Victor said he was the “happiest man in the world”.

29-year-old Willem Oosthuizen was sentenced to a total of 16 years behind bars‚ five of which were suspended, which will result in him spending 11 years behind bars.  His accomplice, Theo Jackson (30) was sentenced to 19 years‚ five of which have been suspended, meaning he’ll spend 14 years in prison. In August this year, the duo was found guilty of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm‚ attempted murder‚ intimidation and kidnapping. Theo faced the additional charge of defeating the ends of justice after he burnt the coffin‚ which would have been used as evidence.

Speaking to DRUM, Victor said he had initially hoped his attackers would get at least 15 years behind bars, but that “the sentencing is very satisfactory and will be a good lesson to people like them. I hope they will learn their lesson”.

Victor, who is on the process of registering the Victor Mlotshwa Foundation Trust is now based in the Tshwane and has a new lease on life. “The days of me being unemployed are numbered, I am about to start a new job. And we’re busy starting up my foundation trust.”

In her sentencing judge Segopotje Mphahlele described the crimes as appalling‚ disgusting and dehumanising. The duo maintained their innocence by accusing Victor of stealing copper cables, but Victor asserts they suddenly attacked him while he was looking for a lift into town to buy groceries for his mother. Judge Mphahlele dismissed their application for leave to appeal their jail sentences.

Victor tells us he was beaten with a knobkerrie as his assailants threatened to burn him alive. “I thought I was dying. When I was in that coffin what went through my mind was that I was dying but I was asking God, even if I had to die, how could He allow me to be buried alive?”

He also says he isn’t holding any grudges and hopes to put the past behind him.