Coffin attack victim testifies

BRUTAL ATTACK: The two accused, Theo Martins Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen, will be sentenced on Friday. INSET: Victim Victor Rethabile Mlotshwa in court yesterday. PICTURE: FRANCE NYAKA

THE two men found guilty of placing him inside a coffin with a snake must be jailed for a minimum of 15 years each, Victor Rethabile Mlotshwa said yesterday.

Testifying in aggravation of sentence, Mlotshwa told a packed circuit of the North Gauteng High Court in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, yesterday he had been receiving threatening calls ever since the incident and the arrest of his attackers and he was no longer able to go around in public.

Mlotshwa said he had since relocated to KwaMhlanga for his safety. He said he was always indoors to avoid the attacks and insults. “My life has since changed because of the trauma following the brutal attack on me.

It is worse because I am even scared to find myself in public because people always insult and criticise me. I had to take a decision that I’d rather stay indoors,” Mlotshwa said. “I had to relocate to KwaMhlanga because I felt that my life was at stake.

I also keep on asking myself that if had I not managed to escape from the brutal attack, what could have happened to me? Imagine putting such a young life in a coffin, putting a snake inside and promising to set it alight.”

The two farmers, Theo Martins Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen, had already been found guilty by judge Segopotje Mphahlele for assaulting Mlotshwa, putting him in a coffin with a snake and threatening to douse him with petrol on their farm in Middelburg almost a year ago.

They had accused him of trespassing and stealing copper cables. They pleaded not guilty on charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, unlawful possession of a firearm, kidnapping, attempted murder, intimidation and defeating the ends of justice.

After evidence was led in aggravation and mitigation of sentence yesterday, the judge postponed the case to Friday for sentencing. The two farmers also testified and told the court that they regretted having put Mlotshwa in the coffin instead of taking him to a police station.

However, state prosecutor Robert Molokoane said the two men had failed to respect the country’s law by committing such offences.

“It is clear that the accused failed to show respect for the country’s laws by taking the law into their own hands by putting such a young life in a coffin with a snake and threatening to burn it.

They never showed remorse during the trial. A criminal deserves to be punished according to the crime committed,” Molokoane said.