I have never considered our actions to be wrong - Coffin accused

Oosthuizen says Mlotshwa was carrying a black bag which contained suspected stolen copper cable

I have never considered our actions to be wrong - coffin accused

8 August 2017

Middelburg - One of the accused in the coffin assault case, Willem Oosthuizen, has told the High Court sitting in the Middelburg Magistrate's Court that, at no point, has he ever considered their actions of forcing Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin as wrong.

Oosthuizen was testifying during the seventh day of the trial.

"Have you ever considered your actions to be wrongful?" his lawyer Advocate Wayne Gibbs asked.

Oosthuizen said: "No"

Oosthuizen and his co-accused Theo Jackson are facing charges of kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, attempted murder, and possession of an illegal firearm.

They were granted R1 000 bail in July after reapplying.

Under the cross-examination by Gibbs, he said they only wanted to scare off Mlotshwa after he had allegedly threatened to murder their wives and children.

He said, on September 7, 2016, he had noticed Mlotshwa walking on the footpath in the mielie fields.

"I hooted and flicked the lights to give him sign that he must come closer to me. He was coming through the mielie fields," he said.

'We instructed him to get into the coffin'

He said Mlotshwa was carrying a black bag which contained suspected stolen copper cable.

Oosthuizen also said the footpath which Mlotshwa used was associated with criminals.

He said, after catching Mlotshwa, he forced him into the bakkie and asked Jackson to come with the coffin.

They instructed him to offload the coffin from the bakkie .

"We instructed him to get into the coffin," he said.

He said he took the two-minutes video after Jackson's cellphone died while he was taking the short video that went viral.

He said they took the videos in order to show that they didn't assault Mlotshwa.

"After the video, we advised him to get out of the coffin."

Oosthuizen also denied that Mlotshwa ran for his life soon after the incident.

'Angry, unsettled'

He also denied knowing the first complainant, Delton Sithole, who testified last week that the two men had also assaulted him.

Prosecutor Robert Molokoane also cross-examined Oosthuizen.

He said the men could have suffocated Mlotshwa when they tried to close the coffin.

"If Mlotshwa was killed, nobody would have known where he was killed," Molokoane said.

"I don't know. I don't know the farm," Oosthuizen replied.

On Monday, Mlotshwa's mother, Lonia, broke down after Molokoane asked her how she felt the first time she saw the video of her son being forced in a coffin.

She said she felt "angry, unsettled and couldn't speak".

"I asked myself, had the Lord not helped him to get out of of the coffin, I wonder what could have happened to him."

But the defence accused her of being evasive with her answers in order to protect her son. The defence said her testimony was different from the initial statement she had made to the police.

The trial continues.