By Neo Goba | Times Live |
Two men who were filmed allegedly forcing a black man into a coffin in a video that went viral on social media declined to apply for bail as they fear for their lives‚ the Middelburg Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday.
Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson face charges of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Their alleged vicitm‚ Victor Rethabile Mlotshwa‚ was also in court.
Magistrate Jongilizwe Dumehleli postponed the case to January 25‚ 2017 after Oosthuizen and Jackson’s legal representative‚ Christo Geldenhuys‚ said they fear for their lives after a huge outcry from the public.
The video was filmed near JM de Beer Boerdery next to the Komati Power Station‚ close to Middelburg in Mpumalanga.
In the 20-second clip the men can be heard forcing Mlotshwa into coffin and threatening to douse him with petrol. When Mlotshwa resisted‚ his captors then threatened to put a snake in the casket.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said it was ironic that the two men had applied for bail on Monday but made a sudden u-turn after the red berets’ “exposed” the incident.
“It was only when the country began to express their disappointment that the state started to act. We cannot allow a situation where we live side by side with racists in our own county‚” said Ndlozi.
Ahead of Wednesday’s proceedings‚ opposition parties put their differences aside and stood in solidarity‚ singing struggle songs and waving placards denouncing racism.
However‚ after the postponement of the case‚ the African National Congress (ANC) and EFF stood about 200m apart on either side of the court building‚ while Democratic Alliance supporters were scattered between those two camps.
Mlotshwa took to the podium of the ANC’s truck and thanked the masses for coming out to support him. He was later prevented from addressing the media by ANC officials.
#CoffinAssault was the top trending topic on Twitter in SA on Wednesday morning.