and Vuyo Mkize
JOHANNESBURG: Bursts of anger erupted at the Protea Magistrate’s Court moments after convicted murderers Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye and Themba Tshabalala received an effective 25 years’ imprisonment.
“They kill children and still want to appeal,” the angry uncle of victim Prince Mohube shouted in court as the two were being led away to the cells. He refused give his name.
Families and other people in the gallery were stunned by the sentences.
Mohube, Mlungisi Cwayi, Andile Mthombeni and Phomello Masemola were killed when Maarohanye and Tshabalala crashed into a group of children walking home from school on March 8, 2010. The court found they were drag racing and driving under the influence.
Two other teenagers Frank Mlambo and Fumani Mushwana were seriously injured.
Mohube’s aunt Joyce Mtonga stared into space, unable to talk, while Frank Mlambo’s mother also could not speak. “I’m very incensed right now and can’t speak,” she said, blinking away tears.
Her son is brain damaged and can no longer read or write. He now does woodwork at a special school.
Another relative Lydia Matsimbi was also angry about the sentence, saying the law had failed them. “The sentence is not enough for four children. We have been unable to sleep for years looking forward to this day and now we are not going to be able to sleep again,” she said.
Matsimbi also rejected both the accuseds’ assertion that they wanted to apologise to the families. “He (Maarohanye) was supposed to apologise the first time [around]. This is not an apology. He is just scared of jail,” she said.
Edwin Masemola, whose son Phomello died in the tragedy, said he would have preferred at least 50 years.
Masemola, who was in court with his younger son, said now that the pair were appealing, there was a possibility that their sentences would be reduced.
Maarohanye’s father Sydney, stormed out of court.
Tshabalala’s father Oupa stood outside the courtroom after the sentencing, smoking. With his voice trembling, he said: “I can’t say anything right now, maybe later.”
Tshabalala’s uncle went to where his nephew and Maarohanye were being kept before being taken away to prison, and hugged him.
In handing down the sentence, Magistrate Brian Nemavhidi said the purpose of the sentence was not to show a tit-for-tat attitude or revenge.
Nemavhidi sentenced the pair to 20 years each for the four murders, four years each for two attempted murders, a year each for driving under the influence of drugs, a year each for using drugs and another year each for drag racing.
The last three counts will run concurrently and the pair will spend an effective 25 years in prison.
Maarohanye and Tshabalala will be in court on February 7 to appeal.