A South African judge on Friday ruled that two white farmers accused of forcing a black man into a coffin were guilty on four counts of kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, attempted murder and intimidation.
The two, Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen, both 28, had previously been granted bail after spending months in jail. They are due to be sentenced on October 23 but were granted bail till then.
They were arrested in November last year after a video that showed them forcing a black South African, Victor Mlotshwa, into a coffin and threatening to burn him, went viral on social media.
In the said video, the two are heard threatening to burn their victim. They also told a frightened Mlotshwa that they will drop a snake into the coffin. The video caused outrage in the country where racial tensions are very strong.
The emotional victim told the court during its hearings about his ordeal at the hands of the two farmers, stating that they had tied him up for hours and would not listen to him despite repeated pleadings for mercy.
“There’s a pathway through the farm to the township where I live and many of us walk through there. I tried to explain to them why I was there and they just kept beating me,” he said.
The decision to grant them 1,000 rand bail in July by the Middleburg Magistrate court sent shock through the country. The two throughout the trial maintained a stance that they meant no harm to the victim and that they had only acted to deter him from trespassing on their property.