South African President Jacob Zuma has strongly condemned the painful treatment meted out to Victor Mlotshwa from Middleburg, a town in Mpumalanga Province, who was beaten up and put in a coffin alive by two men who reportedly accused him of trespassing.

“This incident, which was posted on social media, is shocking, painful and despicable in the extreme. The incident is a reminder of the deep-seated racist attitudes that still prevail among some in our country, who still regard black people as lesser human beings,” Zuma said Friday.

“The perpetrators of this crime and all others who commit various acts of racism in our non-racial democracy must face the full might of the law.”

President Zuma, who was addressing the National Council of Provinces (upper house of Parliament), which was sitting in East London in Eastern Cape Province, said the incident was also a reminder of the need to continue fighting for a better life for farm workers.

Given the secluded nature of farm work, Zuma said, many of the workers suffered in silence. He added that the government had urged the Department of Labour 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. Since 1994, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, through the redistribution programme, has transferred 4.7 million hectares of land. This is made up of 5,281 projects amounting to 12 billion Rand (about 857 million US dollars),” added the president.


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