Pupils bay for Jub Jub's blood

2010-03-17 22:44

Johannesburg - "If he gets bail, they (pupils) will kill him… If we must, we will petrol bomb them (Maarohanye and Tshabalala)."

So said Kenneth Mbatha, Congress of SA Students deputy chairperson on Wednesday outside the Protea Magistrate's Court in Soweto where hip hop artist Jub Jub, whose real name is Molemo Maarohanye, and his friend Themba Tshabalala appeared for deaths of four pupils.

 Emotions ran high in and outside the court as startling details emerged about the drag-racing tragedy that killed the four teenagers.

Both Jub Jub and Tshabalala, were high on morphine and cocaine at the time of the accident on Mdlalose Street, Soweto on March 8, a packed court heard.

Hundreds of angry schoolchildren - brandishing sticks, tree branches and ANC flags - protested outside the building, vowing to "destroy" the two if they were granted bail.

The court was also told that Tshabalala had alcohol in his blood. A breathalyser showed his alcohol levels were 0.4 milligrams of alcohol per 1 000 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 0.24.

'The weapon is coming'

Investigating officer Inspector Mpho Matshidiso testified that the accident had a "shocking effect on the public" and that local residents had threatened to kill both Jub Jub and Tshabalala if they got bail.

Outside the court throughout the day, schoolchildren sang a variety of songs including: "babulala abafowethu" (they killed our friends) in isiZulu, "Asibasabi siya bafuna" (we are not scared of them) and "Viva uyeza umkhonto" (the weapon is coming).

When both accused arrived at court in a Nyala in the morning, other prisoners with him began screaming and singing "ayeye, Jub Jub, ayeye (watch out)" while banging on the insides of the vehicle.

Protesters began stoning police vehicles after midday. Police retaliated with rubber bullets, but no injuries were reported.

Some journalists were prevented from entering Court 6 and forced to move away from the room.

The court heard Tshabalala was a manager at his parents' liquor store in Dobsonville. It had been closed since the crash because his parents were allegedly threatened by local residents.

Drag racing claim questioned

During cross-examination, defence lawyer Ike Motloung questioned whether Jub Jub's popularity had influenced the case.

He also probed Inspector Mpho Matshidiso's collection of statements from witnesses, as some of them did not provide dates and times.

Motloung further challenged allegations the two accused had been drag racing when the accident happened. He said these claims originated with the media.

Matshidiso conceded there was no evidence to prove that in fact the two were racing at the time of the crash.

Two other state witnesses, Community Policing Forum chairperson Mandla Gasa and his deputy Monti Mbatha also said the two accused should not get bail because of the death threats.

Motloung, however argued that the threats were "more perceived than real.

"The message you are sending is that when celebrities get involved in accidents they should not get bail."

Pupils going back to protest

Outside the court, Muthuhandini Madzivhandila, executive manager for the Road Traffic Management Corporation said he wanted justice to be done.

"We want to see offenders punished heavily... We can't manage them on roads because roads are shared space. If they can't share space, they must be removed."

Protesters promised to the return to the court on Thursday.

"Tomorrow if the police attack students, we will come ready, armed with bricks and stones and anything... we are not afraid of them," Cosas's Mbatha said over a loudspeaker.

"We will be attending school here. Jub Jub and his friend will suffer. It doesn't matter if his mother is a businesswoman, he will not get special treatment," he said to cheers.