Racism reared its ugly head again in South Africa after two white farmers accused of committing a racial crime appeared before a judge on Wednesday, in a court east of the capital Pretoria.
The two, Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson, are said to have forced Victor Rethabile Mlotshwa into a coffin, as one man pushed a lid on his head while the other lashed out threats to put a snake and light up the casket, after he was caught trespassing on a farm land.
Mlotshwa who was still visibly shaken spoke to a BBC reporter saying, “They threatened to pour petrol on me, I pleaded for mercy and they wouldn’t listen. I have nightmares about that day. It traumatised me.”
BBC Africa (@BBCAfrica) November 16, 2016
Outside the court supporters of the three main political parties in South Africa chanted and waved placards in unison, outraged by the racial crime.
“They took our land and now they are actually dealing with our people, each and every day, antagonising our people. So we are not going to allow that kind of situation under this democracy,” said an ANC youth leader, Desmond Moela.
While the Economic Freedom Fighters ( EFF) party spokes person Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said, “Let me tell you, why white people continue to be arrogant, let me tell you why they’ve got the audacity to capture one of our own, beat him up, beat him up, as he asks for help, then they put him in a coffin threatening to burn him alive. Why do white people, 22 years after Nelson Mandela forgave them, why do they still do that?”
EFF Official Account (@EFFSouthAfrica) November 16, 2016
The case which was postponed until January 25, has exposed racial divides which still persist 22 years after the fall of apartheid.
According to Reuters, black people make up 80 percent of South Africa’s 54 million population yet most of the economy remains in the hands of white people, who account for about 8 percent of the population.
The men will remain in custody until the case resumes.