Saturday, November 19, 2016

Two Men Appear in South African Court Accused of Forcing Black Man Into Coffin
Video emerges showing two white farmers allegedly threatening to burn victim alive in racially charged incident

Wednesday 16 November 2016 07.00 EST

Two white South Africans accused of forcing a black man into a coffin and threatening to set him on fire have appeared before a judge, as demonstrators protested against racism outside the courthouse.

Members of the ruling African National Congress party and opposition parties gathered on Wednesday outside the court in Middelburg town, Mpumalanga province, where the case against the two farmers, Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson, was postponed until 25 January.

A video showing the alleged racially charged incident has circulated on social media, intensifying debate about South Africa’s legacy of white minority rule, which ended in 1994.

The video shows a man cowering and moaning in a coffin as a tormentor pushes part of the lid over his head and upper body. A man is also heard threatening to pour petrol in the coffin. Another threat is to put a snake in the coffin.

The assaulted man, identified as Victor Rethabile Mlotshwa, had been accused of trespassing on farmland, according to South African media.

Protesters at the courthouse included members of the Economic Freedom Fighters, an opposition party that wants land held by the white minority to be redistributed.

South Africa won praise for reconciliation efforts among racial groups when apartheid ended, but many black South Africans express frustration that they have failed to reap the economic benefits they expected from democracy. The income of the average white household is six times that of a black household, according to 2011 census data.

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