South African President Jacob Zuma (L) addresses the National Council of Provinces in East London, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, on Nov. 18, 2016. South African President Jacob Zuma on Friday joined the chorus of condemnation against the racial incident in which a black man was forced into a coffin by two white men. (Xinhua/DOC/Elmond Jiyane)
CAPE TOWN, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- South African President Jacob Zuma on Friday joined the chorus of condemnation against the racial incident in which a black man was forced into a coffin by two white men.
"This incident, which was posted on social media, is shocking, painful and despicable in the extreme," Zuma said in an address to the National Council of Provinces in East London, Eastern Cape Province.
In an incident that caused national uproar, two white men accused Victor Mlotshwa of trespassing on a ranch, forced him into a coffin and threatened to pour gasoline on him and light him on fire. One of the men captured part of the assault process on video.
The incident happened in Middleburg, Mpumalanga Province. The footage was shot on August 17, but has surfaced only recently.
The incident is a reminder of the deep-seated racist attitudes that still prevail among some in the country, who still regard black people as lesser human beings, Zuma said.
The perpetrators of this crime and all others who commit various acts of racism in the non-racial democracy must face the full might of the law, he said.
This incident is also a reminder of the need to continue fighting for a better life for farm workers, Zuma said, adding that given the secluded nature of farm work, many suffer in silence.
Zuma said he had urged the Department of Labor and other departments to ensure improved monitoring of the working and living conditions of farm workers.
This matter has also brought into sharper focus the question of access to land by black people, he said.
The two accused, Theo Martins Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen, have been charged with kidnapping and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.