The man whose infamous assault case included being forced into a coffin, Rethabile Victor Mlotshwa, has reacted to the Supreme Court of Appeal’s (SCA) amendment of the convictions of Theo Martins Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen, which saw the verdict finding the pair guilty of attempted murder overturned, and in effect will see their sentences reduced to five years each.

Mlotshwa told TimesLive that he found out about the outcome of the appeal when he watched the news, and considered it a “painful and hurtful” development.

He added that he felt betrayed and suspected there was “another hand at play” that led to the result of the appeal.

He said he worried about how his mother would take the news.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), meanwhile, have rejected the outcome of the appeal, saying in a statement “it’s difficult to understand how in law” the actions of the two men could “not amount to attempted murder”.

The party added that the court itself acknowledged that the pair lacked remorse for their crimes, videoed themselves committing the acts and burned the coffin as a means of getting rid of evidence and defeating the ends of justice.

The party has called on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to appeal the verdict at the Constitutional Court.

“Our courts truly need to internalise the fact that anti-black racism is a real motivator when white people deal with blacks. It is worse in circumstances like violence and humiliation.

READ MORE: Coffin duo receive outcome of petition at Supreme Court of Appeal

“White privilege always saves white offenders from the cutting wreath of the law,” said the statement, adding that the party wanted this to come to an end.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi expressed similar sentiments about white privilege in a tweet, adding that in his view “this country hates black people”.

The pair from Middelburg were found guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, kidnapping, attempted murder, intimidation and defeating the ends of justice in 2016 when a video surfaced of them forcing Mlotshwa into a coffin after accusing him of trespassing and theft.

They threatened to burn Mlotshwa alive, while he denied stealing anything.

Mlotshwa said he was attacked by the two while hitch-hiking.

While both denied the charges at the time, Oosthuizen was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment and Jackson to 14 years.

According to court papers dated December 2, the SCA adjusted their sentences and conviction, finding the pair guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and kidnapping, while Jackson maintains his convictions of defeating the ends of justice.

Both have subsequently been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on the assault charges and one year for kidnapping, while Jackson received one year for defeating the ends of justice for burning the coffin which was to be used as evidence.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, News24 Wire)

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