Masutha welcomes sentence of coffin case farmworkers

27 October 2017 - 16:12 By Ernest Mabuza
Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson were filmed forcing Victor Mlotshwa in a coffin in 2016.
Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson were filmed forcing Victor Mlotshwa in a coffin in 2016.
Image: Supplied

The men were found guilty of attempted murder‚ kidnapping and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

They were filmed forcing Victor Mlotshwa in a coffin in 2016.

Oosthuizen was sentenced to a total of 11 years imprisonment while Jackson was sentenced to 14 years.

Masutha commended the National Prosecuting Authority and the investigating team for their efforts in securing a successful conviction.

“We believe that this strong sentence will deter would be hate crime perpetrators in our society. We also find it defeating and disappointing that we are dealing with a case of this nature in a year where we celebrate the life of Mr Oliver Reginald Tambo‚” Masutha said.

WATCH | Coffin assault duo sentenced to more than 10 years

The crime committed against Mlotshwa and the sentence imposed by the court highlighted the need for stronger laws against hate speech and hate crimes‚ the minister said‚ adding that the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill‚ which has undergone a robust public participation process‚ is ready for submission to Cabinet to approve the Bill for introduction to Parliament.

Masutha said the Bill‚ which criminalises hate crimes and hate speech‚ provides that where a hate crime is committed and the crime does not fall in the ambit of the current minimum sentence provisions‚ then the court must consider the fact that the person was convicted of a hate crime as an aggravating factor. This will attract a harsher penalty if a crime is classified as a hate crime.

The crime of hate speech will attract a sentence of a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years in the case of a first conviction or a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years in the case of a subsequent conviction.

The penalties for hate crimes are left to the discretion of the court because base crimes constituting hate crimes can vary from common assault to murder.

X