Jub Jub goes into hiding

Published Mar 20, 2010


Gospel rapper Molemo Jub Jub Maarohanye is free - but living in fear.

He was freed yesterday after 12 days behind bars, at a price of R10 000, as baying pupils threatened to sack the Protea Glen Magistrate's Court in Soweto.

Looking like a rabbit caught in a car's headlights, he was escorted by a phalanx of policemen to a police car and taken to Johannesburg Prison, better known as Sun City, where his lawyers paid his bail.

This morning he woke up a free man in a secret location - known to the Saturday Star - as Soweto counted the cost of a three-day-long running battle between police and pupils.

Yesterday, officers of the Public Order Policing Unit and heavily armed members of the Joburg Metro Police Department struggled for hours to get the pupils to disperse, eventually using the SAPS's much vaunted modern water cannon, which was imported to control World Cup hooligans.

The roads leading to and from the court were strewn with rocks and burning debris as angry pupils, orchestrated by the Congress of South African Students (Cosas), arrived for a third, increasingly angry, day to fight pitched battles with the police.

The officers, wearing riot body armour, were forced to fire volley after volley of rubber bullets as the pupils pelted them with a barrage of rocks and anything else they could get their hands on.

Maarohanye and Themba Tshabalala are accused of killing four schoolboys and critically injuring another two after the Mini Coopers they were racing down Soweto's Mdlalose Street left the road and ploughed into them.

They face four charges of murder, two of attempted murder, one of reckless and negligent driving, and another of driving under the influence.

Cosas has spent the week getting pupils to stay away from school and attend the protests.

On Monday, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema took a meal of chicken to Jub Jub in his cell.

Yesterday, as smoke hung over the court, Cosas's leaders were at pains to distance the organisation from "criminal elements" taking on the police and terrifying residents.

But Cosas national president Ndoba Msimanga told the Saturday Star last night they were still very angry.

"Whatever behaviour prevailed this afternoon was informed by the magistrate's decision."

He said they had gone to Soweto schools, in Protea Glen in particular, to mobilise pupils.

Late yesterday afternoon, after they heard that Maarohanye had been granted bail, a mob of pupils threatened to go to Maarohanye's father's butchery in Glenridge and burn it to the ground.

The battle to free Maarohanye took three days in court. State prosecutor Liezl van Jaarsveld argued that the case had created exceptional outrage in the community.

As she was speaking, several cars outside the court were damaged by the angry mob.

"The ugly fact remains, however, that public peace and security are endangered by the release of persons charged with offences that incite public outrage. Everyone before court is looking for justice."

"On my right, the public outside crying for justice - not the normal type of justice, but more specifically mob justice. On my left, the defence are saying there is injustice because the applicants are incarcerated. Behind me, the deceased's family, waiting to see if there is something called justice."

Maarohanye's defence team, led by Ike Motloung, argued that he was innocent until proved guilty and that the court had to send out a message to the pupil protesters outside that violence would not get them results.

He accused the media of fuelling the emotions of the mob with their reportage and called the police hypocrites for their failure to deal with the protesters outside.

Five teenagers were arrested for public violence and released into the custody of their parents.

It seems magistrate Anders Auret agreed with Motloung.

"The safety of the accused is definitely at risk... But they have the means to protect themselves," he said. "I take into account the immense emotional situation prevailing... but the community want the court to refuse bail and in this way are already punishing the applicants. This can't be tolerated."

Auret's decision didn't please the victims' families.

A shocked Daniswa Khumbule, grandmother of Jules High School pupil Thamsanqa Mohube, one of the four boys killed, was at a loss for words.

Staggering out of the court, she told the Saturday Star: "Now he can do exactly what he said in court - spend time with his unborn child - but my grandson is gone forever."

Alucia Sekgathune, sister of victim Phumelelo Masemola, said: "I don't know what it is with musicians and the law. The same thing happened with Mandoza... Jub Jub shouldn't spend a single day outside prison."

Maarohanye family spokesman Mokhosi Moleko said: "We've seen the wheels of justice in motion with no outside influence... South Africa is a democratic state."

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