The two white farmers accused of assaulting a black man Mr. Victor Mlotshwa and shoving him into a coffin will now remain in custody until their trial date – January 25.
The white farmers’ bail application was discarded by Magistrate Jongilizwe Dumehleli when the duo appeared at the Middelburg Magistrates’ Court in Mpumalanga on Thursday.
Dumehleli emphatically stated that Theo Martins Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen were denied bail because it would be a slap in the face of justice to do so. More so, he asserted that the accused were not able to convince the court that they should be granted bail.
“Based on all the reasons I’ve put‚ the respondents have succeeded. It will not be in the interest of the public for accused number one to be released on bail. Applicant two has also not been able to prove that he should be granted bail‚” Dumehleli said.
The Magistrate, however, made it clear that his decision not to grant the accused bail doesn’t, in any way, create the impression that all farmers must be regarded as racist. “This will be unfair to those farmers who are not racist”, he added.
Dumehleli upheld that from evidence tabled in the course of the trial, it was clear that the farmers’ action was racially motivated, stating that the likelihood of bloodshed is clear if the applicants are released on bail.
The situation outside the court premises was tense, with several members of the police’s Tactical Response Team (TRT) guarding the entrance to the court building.
Supporters from different groups – including the African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) and the SA Communist Party (SACP) were all spotted singing and jubilating in support of the victim.
The Middelburg community and South African society who spoke at the court said they strongly believe that justice would be duly served in the racially charged case.