Coffin assault victim calls for 15-year jail term for his attackers

Rethabile Mlotshwa has on Monday told the court that he thinks about the attack all the time and is afraid to go out in public.

Rethabile Mlotshwa with his lawyer ahead of proceedings inside the Middelburg Magistrates Court during the sentencing of Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen on 23 October 2017. Picture: Ziyanda Yono/EWN.

MIDDELBURG - Coffin assault victim Rethabile Mlotshwa has asked the High Court sitting in Middelburg to impose a 15-year jail sentence on Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson.

Rethabile Mlotshwa has been called to the witness stand as part of sentencing proceedings against Oosthuizen and Jackson, who've been convicted on charges of attempted murder, among others.

The pair forced Mlotshwa into the coffin and threatened to set it alight in an attack caught on video.

Mlotshwa has on Monday told the court that he thinks about the attack all the time and is afraid to go out in public.

He has also told the court that the African National Congress (ANC) has been paying for his counselling.

“The ANC has been making sure that I receive counselling.”

Mlotshwa says the ordeal has changed him as a person.

His mother, who was listening to his testimony, broke down in tears and proceedings were briefly adjourned.

The pair says they regret forcing Mlotshwa into a coffin and should have taken him to a police station after he threatened them.

They say they suspected him of stealing copper cables from a farm where they work.


The judge in the case says she needs more time to consider the facts presented to her and has postponed sentencing to Friday.

The prosecution and defence have spent the day cross-examining witnesses during arguments in mitigation and aggravation of sentence.

Jackson and Oosthuizen were found guilty of attempted murder, kidnapping, intimidation and assault.

A video showing the duo forcing a man into a coffin near Middleburg last year went viral.

Jackson says at the time, he did not see anything wrong with forcing Rethabile Mlothswa into a coffin but regrets his action now.

His co-accused, Oosthuizen has told the court that his family will not survive if he is sent to prison.

Judge Sheila Mphahlele says she’ll consider all testimonies.

“We have agreed on Friday. So I'll hand down the sentence on Friday at 9 o’clock in the same court.”

The Democratic Alliance and ANC say they’ll be there once again on Friday.