MPUMALANGA, August 01 – The South African Communist Party (SACP) in Mpumalanga on Monday, called on the judicial authorities to move the trial of the two men accused of assaulting a farmworker and shoving him into a coffin to the stadium or a bigger courtroom so that more people could be accommodated to attend proceedings.
Delmas sub-district coordinator of the SACP, Dikgetse Sepenyane, made the demand at the Delmas High Court, shortly before the trial started.
“We want our members and everybody else to have access to this case,” said Sepenyane.
“This case draws a lot of attention but this this court is too small for it. We want this court to sit at the stadium or bigger courtroom. We are going to take this matter up with the national authorities and make sure our demands are met.”
Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson appeared in court on the first day of their trial on Monday. They were arrested late last year, for allegedly assaulting Victor Mlotshwa and shoving him into a coffin on a farm near Middelburg.
The Middelburg Magistrate’s Court granted each of them R1000 bail on July 14, after their previous bail application was denied by the same court in December last year.
The alleged assault incident was captured on a video which went viral on social media and other media platforms.
Oosthuizen and Jackson face charges including attempted murder, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, kidnapping and intimidation. They pleaded not guilty to all the charges on Monday.
The courtroom was packed to capacity on Monday and many other people were denied access. Those who could not enter the courtroom included members of the African National Congress Youth League, SACP and the Democratic Alliance.
Judge Sheila Mphahlele, who presided over the trial later told reporters that the trial would be moved back to the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court from Tuesday.
The trial was expected to be concluded on August 10.