Coffin assault victim ‘grateful’ for public support

Rethabile Mlotshwa was speaking shortly after the men accused of kidnapping and assaulting him were denied bail.

FILE: Rethabile Mlotshwa sits inside Middelburg Magistrate Court during the appearance of the two men accused of racially abusing him after they attempted to lock him inside a coffin. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Coffin assault victim Rethabile Mlotshwa has told scores of African National Congress (ANC) members outside the Middelburg Magistrates Court in Mpumalanga that he is grateful for their support thus far.

Mlotshwa was speaking shortly after the men accused of kidnapping and assaulting him were denied bail.

In a video clip that went viral last month, Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuisen can be seen forcing Mlotshwa into a coffin; they allegedly also threatened to set him alight.

He and his mother held hands as Magistrate Jongilizwe Dumehleli handed down judgment in the bail application.

Dumehleli called the incident “shocking” and “racist” and ruled that it would not be in the interests of justice to release the suspects.

Scores of supporters chanted outside court as the matter was heard and Mlotshwa says he values their support.

“Thank you very much to everyone here. Thank you.”

The National Prosecuting Authority’s Monica Nyuswa says the State intends to press on until there is a conviction in this case.

“The nature and the seriousness of the offence as well as the outcry from community members has been reflected in the court’s decision.”

Jackson and Oosthuizen will remain in custody until the 25 January when a trial date is expected to be set.

WATCH: Coffin assault accused denied bail

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)