Johannesburg judge, George Malukeke has changed the convictions that had been handed to hip hop artist, Molemo “Jub-Jub” Maarohanye and his acquaintance, Themba Tshabalala from those of murder to those of culpable homicide. In addition, the High Court judge dropped the charges of attempted murder altogether as well as that of unlawfully racing on a public road and that of drug use. He, however, sustained the conviction of driving under the influence of drugs. The dismissal of some convictions and the change of charges also came with reduction in sentences, meaning that their sentences will effectively be reduced from twenty years to ten years each and will effectively serve only six years each.
Jub Jub’s case with Tshabalala emanates from an accident that occurred in Protea North, Soweto on 8 March, when the pair were drag-racing and ploughed into a group of school boys Prince Mohube, Mlungisi Cwayi, Andile Mthombeni, and Phomello Masemola. Two other boys who were in the group were injured but sustained massive brain damage resulting in that they will depend on care for the rest of their lives. During their trial, back in 2012, the pair were convicted of murder and attempted murder among other charges resulting in them being handed twenty year sentences each for the murder raps while the attempted murder convictions attracted four year sentences for each person.
During the appeal, judge Maluleke changed the murder convictions to culpable homicide, which resulted in the twenty year sentences being reduced to ten year terms while the charge for attempted murder charge was dismissed totally together with its four year sentences. It is the admission that they had been smoking marijuana prior to driving that swayed the judges in reducing the charge from murder to culpable homicide as it is felt that the drug resulted in a state of euphoria that means they were not aware of the result of their actions. The judge also suspended two years from the ten on condition that the two are not convicted of a similar offence within five years. In addition, for the charge of one year each, for drug use was made to run concurrently with the ten years. In addition, these sentences were adjudged to run from the day when the started serving their initial sentences, that is, 16 October, 2012. What this means is that of the eight years that remain, the two have served two, meaning that they only have six years or less to serve.