South Africa’s coffin assault victim speaks his truth

A black assault victim in South Africa told reporters outside court about how two white men forced him into a coffin at a Middelburg farm.

MIDDELBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (NEWS 24) – Two white South African men appeared in court on Wednesday (November 16) on charges of assault and kidnapping after a video showed them forcing a wailing black man into a coffin.

The 20-second video, which was widely circulated on social media, shows Victor Mlotshwa cowering inside a coffin as one man pushes a lid on his head and the other threatens to put petrol and a snake inside the casket.

Mlotshwa escaped, although it is not clear how. He spoke to reporters outside court about the horrific incident.

“They started asking me questions and beating me up so I had to run away from there. They chase me with these two truck, the other one was on the other side, the other one on middle running. So they caught me and beat me up really. They beat me up and they started… they tied me with the cable ties, and then they took me to the nearest farm – that is the place where they, I see the coffin and they started beating (me) up and forcing me into the coffin,” he said.

The case has caused outrage in a country where deep racial divides persist 22 years after the fall of apartheid.

The two accused, Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson, appeared briefly in the Middelburg Magistrate court east of the capital Pretoria before the case was postponed until January 25. The men will remain in custody until the case resumes.

Black people make up 80 percent of South Africa’s 54 million population yet most of the economy remains in the hands of white people, who account for about 8 percent of the population.