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South Africa: coffin assault case sends message that racism will not be tolerated

In response to the conclusion of the coffin assault case, at the Middleburg High Court earlier today (27 October), Shenilla Mohamed, Amnesty International South Africa’s Executive Director, said:

“The conclusion of this grotesque case sends a clear – and welcome – message that acts of racism or discrimination will not be tolerated in South Africa.

“The government must now move with speed to finalise the Hate Crimes legislation in order to deal decisively with incidents of discrimination.”


Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson were arrested after forcing Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin and threatening to pour petrol over him in August 2016.

They were charged with kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and attempted murder and were put on trial at the Delmas regional court in Mpumalanga province.

In October 2016, the South African cabinet opened the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill for public comment. The draft legislation is awaiting approval by cabinet.

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