EVEN the promise to set up a trust fund for his victims did not earn hip-hop artist Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye any mercy. He will spend 25 years behind bars.
Yesterday, two years after killing four schoolboys and seriously injuring two others while drag racing, the embattled musician had his day of reckoning.
While Maaronhanye and his co-accused, Themba Tshabalala, escaped life in prison as requested by the state, magistrate Brian Nemavhidi had harsh words for the pair.
“Those children left their homes to go to school in hope of a better future but you took that away from them. They only made their way home in coffins in preparations for their funerals.”
Prince Mohube, Mlungisi Cwayi, Andile Mthombeni and Phomello Masemola died. Frank Mlambo and Fumani Mushwana were left with permanent brain damage when Maaronhanye and Tshabalala drove into them with their Mini Coopers while drag racing on March 8 2010.
Passing sentence in a packed courtroom, Nemavhidi further lashed out at the two. “Your conduct shows you have no regard for the rules of the road. No one can sympathise with you because you brought it on yourself.”
Nemavhidi said although they did not intend to kill and injure the victims, the two should have known better than to race on a road filled with schoolchildren.
Maaronhanye had pleaded not guilty and at one point during the trial called himself a victim, placing the blame on Tshabalala for “placing his life in danger”.
Yesterday, however, Maaronhanye during mitigation of sentence made an indirect peace offering to the victims’ families.
Only when facing a lengthy prison sentence did he offer to assist the families of the four dead children.
A strained-looking Maarohanye said he would pay for the tombstones, set up a trust fund for the victims and produce a song about the incident, if given the opportunity to escape a prison sentence.
But, it would be cold comfort for this victims and their families, Nemavhidi said.
“Why did the trial have to go on for two years for people to change their minds about assisting the families and setting up trust funds for the victims?”
When Nemavhidi sentenced the pair to 25 years in prison, Maaronhanye’s father, Sydney, bowed his head in despair.
Nemavhidi said his decision was not only influenced by the seriousness of the crimes, but also by the lack of remorse shown by the two accused over the course of the trial.
In October, the two were found guilty of four counts of murder, two of attempted murder and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
State prosecutor Raymond Mathenjwa told the court that the fact the pair did not admit guilt meant they were not remorseful.
“Even to this day, the two do not want to take responsibility for what happened that day,” he said.
Maarohanye’s defence attorney, Rudi Krause, said his client had the potential of being an influential ambassador against drug abuse. Maaronhanye had previously told the court he did not know what drugs looked like.
Psychiatrist Professor Mariette Vorster said when she assessed Maaronhanye on November 26 he admitted to the occasional use of ecstasy. Their driver’s licences were revoked.
Families of the victims said they felt cheated by the sentences, saying that “25 years was nothing”.