Amnesty International welcomes jail sentences for coffin attackers
The heavy sentences meted to two white men who forced a black man into a coffin sends a clear message that acts of racism or discrimination will not be tolerated in South Africa.
This is the opinion of Amnesty International following a high court judgment in the case of Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson‚ who‚ in August 2016‚ forced Victor Mlotshwa into the coffin and threatened to pour petrol over him.
On Friday‚ the high court sitting in Middelburg sentenced Oosthuizen‚ 29‚ to 16 years behind bars‚ five of which were suspended. This will result in him spending 11 years in jail.
Jackson‚ 30‚ was sentenced to 19 years‚ five of which have been suspended. This will result in him spending 14 years behind bars.
“The conclusion of this grotesque case sends a clear – and welcome – message that acts of racism or discrimination will not be tolerated in South Africa‚” said Shenilla Mohamed‚ the executive director of Amnesty International South Africa.
“The government must now move with speed to finalise the hate crimes legislation in order to deal decisively with incidents of discrimination.”
Oosthuizen and Jackson were charged with kidnapping‚ assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and attempted murder.
In August‚ the court found them guilty of attempted murder and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
In October last year‚ Cabinet opened the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill for public comment.
The draft legislation is awaiting approval by Cabinet.