Assault victim was “arrogant”‚ says coffin accused
Victor Mlotshwa‚ the man who was filmed being forced into a coffin by two farm workers‚ showed arrogance to the men who had captured him‚ allegedly in possession of stolen copper cables.
This was according to Theo Jackson‚ one of two men arrested for the attack on Mlotshwa.
“I thought Victor would have been afraid when we told him to offload the coffin from the bakkie but he was still arrogant‚” Jackson testified in the High Court sitting in Middelburg on Thursday.
He claimed Mlotshwa did not say anything to him but he could tell by his attitude that he was arrogant.
“Myself and accused 1 [Willem Oosthuizen] then told him to climb in to the coffin‚” said Jackson‚ recalling the incident‚ which occurred near the Komati Power Station last year.
Even when inside the coffin‚ Mlotshwa refused to disclose where he had stolen the copper cables from and what he intended to do with them‚ said Jackson.
“At some stage‚ we threatened him with petrol. I climbed into my bakkie and in my tool box there was a white container. It is a four-cornered container that looks like an ice-cream container but it has a handle‚” he added.
“There were bolts‚ nuts and screws inside the container. It was a white. You cannot see what is inside. With the container [at hand]‚ I asked for a match from accused 1 so that Victor could think that it was petrol. Just after we had asked him whose cable it was‚ [Oosthuizen] placed the lid on him and Victor started to cry loudly.”
Oosthuizen‚ who had been recording the incident on his phone‚ then stopped the video and ordered Mlotshwa out of the coffin‚ said Jackson.
Mlotshwa’s version‚ however‚ was that Jackson and Oosthuizen attacked him while he was innocently waiting to hitchhike to Middelburg‚ accusing him of theft.
He claimed the pair had forced him into the coffin‚ threatened to put a snake in it and douse him with petrol. One of the two had a gun and had threatened to shoot him if tried to run.
Mlotshwa said in order to stop the severe assault on him‚ he told the pair what they wanted to hear.
Testifying last week‚ he told the court that he feared they would have killed him.
Jackson however‚ told the court that they never laid a hand on Mlotshwa.
He also denied that he had a gun with him.
Oosthuizen said they put Mlotshwa in the coffin to scare him.
This was after he had threatened to burn their crops and kill their wife and children if they took him to the police‚ Jackson said.
“Did you ever think what you were doing was wrong?” Jackson’s lawyer‚ Org Basson asked him.
“No‚ because he threatened us and we wanted to scare him. We wanted to ensure that he will not proceed with his threats. We did not hurt him or assault him‚” he replied.
The trial continues.