White South African men who pushed black man Victor Mlothshwa into coffin charged with kidnapping and assault

The two men cited cable theft as a reason for their attack

The two men pleaded not guilty to attempted murder

Monday, October 23, 2017

Two white South African men who pushed a black man into a coffin and threatened to set him on fire have been found guilty of kidnapping and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The two white men, Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson, were seen on mobile phone footage shoving Victor Mlothshwa into the coffin and issuing the threat at a firm in Middleburg.

Oosthuizen and Jackson appeared in court facing seven charges, including assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, kidnapping and attempted murder.

They pleaded not guilty to the charge of attempted muder, and accused their victim of cable theft, citing this as a reason for their actions. Mlothshwa denied this and stated that he was picked up by the two men while taking a shortcut towards Middleburg.

Judge Segopotje Mphahlele found the pair not guilty of attempted murder but found there was sufficient evidence to convict them of the kidnapping and assualt charges.

The incident sparked a national outrage, reminding citizens of South Africa's racist history. 

Campaigners filled the courtroom and pushed for severe punishment for Oosthuizen and Jackson, and protesters could also be seen outside the court holding 'Black Lives Matter' signs and wearing images of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, according to Al Jazeera. 

Activist Luyanda Magadala, 35, said that white South Africans need to accept the country has changed, telling reporters: "Our forefathers taught us that we are equal. They cannot treat us like this".