The video shows two white men forcing a black man into a coffin
The two men have been charged with assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm
A video showing two white men forcing a black man into a coffin and threatening to set him alight has gone viral under #coffinassault in recent days, once again igniting the discussion of racism in South Africa.
The two men, Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson, appeared in court on Wednesday facing charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Oosthuizen and Jackson dropped their bail application and were sent back to jail to await trial. The case has been postponed to January 25, 2017.
The victim, Victor Rethabile Mlotshwa told reporters outside court: “They accused me of trespassing and they asked me questions, they chased me and started beating me up and took me to the nearest farm where they beat me up and put me in a coffin.
“I don’t know where they got the coffin, but one of them forced me into it. They other one had a gun. For all I know, he could have shot me,” Mlotshwa said.
Hundreds gathered outside the court in an anti-racism protest while political parties have condemned the assault.
In a tweet sent Wednesday, the ruling ANC party appealed to the court to show no mercy and asked parliament to act quickly to enact a hate crime bill into law.
Opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) held an anti-racism demonstration while the Democratic Alliance (DA) released a statement condemning the racist coffin attack and supporting Mlotshwa.
The DA’s deputy leader Jane Sithole addressed a large crowd of activist outside the Middelburg magistrate court.
She said: “There is no place in a democratic society for bigotry and racism of any form. This goes against the values and principles protected in our constitution and against the DA’s core principles of freedom, fairness, and opportunity for all”
South Africans have also taken to twitter in support of Mlotshwa and the fight against racism.