Musician Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye and co-accused Themba Tshabalala were not racing when their Mini Coopers ploughed through a group of schoolchildren, the Protea Magistrate's Court heard on Friday.
A passenger in Tshabalala's car, Mpumelelo Vezi, told the court that Tshabalala was overtaking Maarohanye just before the accident.
“The were not racing because they did not take off at the same time from the stop sign, and again, Metro police were nearby,” he told the court.
He said Tshabalala stopped next to Maarohanye at the stop sign to enquire whether he had managed to get directions.
Vezi, who describes himself as a friend of both the accused, said Tshabalala wanted to overtake Maarohanye in order to stop in front of him, so that he (Vezi) could move from Tshabalala's car to Maarohanye's car.
He explained that Tshabalala had other commitments to attend to.
Vezi told the court that while Tshabalala was overtaking, a minibus taxi appeared in front and Tshabalala moved to the left to avoid colliding with it. Tshabalala's Mini Cooper then hit Maarohanye's on its right side, towards the back.
Tshabalala's car rolled three times, ploughing into a group of school pupils, killing four and severely injuring two of them.
He said that after the accident, his friendship with both the accused was strained because they were not talking and relating as they did before.
“It was a difficult situation for me; I needed my space to deal with the situation,” he said.
Maarohanye and Tshabalala face charges of murder, attempted murder, reckless driving, and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
The trial continues. – Sapa