Coffin assault duo part of thousands given parole to curb spread of Covid-19

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Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen are seen during their appearance at the High Court sitting at Middelburg Magistrate’s Court.
Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen are seen during their appearance at the High Court sitting at Middelburg Magistrate’s Court.
Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images, Netwerk24
  • Coffin assault duo Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson have been released on parole.
  • Department of Correctional Services said as at 12 August, 9 537 qualifying low-risk offenders were granted parole under correctional supervision. 
  • In 2016, Jackson and Oosthuizen forced Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin and threatened to pour petrol on him.  

Convicted coffin assault duo Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson were part of the thousands of qualifying low-risk offenders released on parole to curb the spread of Covid-19.

On 8 May, the release on parole of certain categories of low-risk inmates was authorised to curb its spread in correctional facilities, Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Logan Maistry said on Friday.

"As part of the Covid-19 special parole dispensation, the offenders in question were released accordingly on parole into the system of community corrections," he added.  

Maistry said the offenders "will continue to serve their full sentences on parole and subject to placement conditions which must be complied with until sentence expiry".

He added as of 12 August, 9 537 qualifying low-risk offenders were granted parole under correctional supervision to continue to serve their sentences in the system of community corrections.

"Over 250 are above the age of 60 years and were sick offenders at risk of contracting Covid-19."

READ | Less than quarter of the 19 000 inmates eligible for Covid-19 parole released so far

Jackson and Oosthuizen - the men who forced Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin - were initially sentenced to 11 years and 14 years behind bars, respectively.

As she handed down the sentences, Judge Segopotje Mphahlele said the men's conduct was "humiliating and disgusting".

They had forced Mlotshwa into a coffin and threatened to pour petrol on him.

The incident was filmed and the video went viral on social media, sparking an outcry and demands for justice.

However, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) amended the conviction and sentence of the two - setting aside their attempted murder and intimidation conviction.

According to court documents dated 2 December 2019, the SCA adjusted their sentences and conviction, finding the pair guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and kidnapping, while Jackson maintained his conviction of defeating the ends of justice.

They were subsequently sentenced to five years in prison on the assault charges and one year for kidnapping, while Jackson also received one year for defeating the ends of justice for burning the coffin which was to be used as evidence.

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