An eyewitness testifying in the murder trial of musician Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye and his co-accused, Themba Tshabalala, stuck to her evidence during cross-examination in the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Maki Ndlovu, a trainee sangoma, told the court how two Mini Coopers driven by the accused sped past her and her friend, Nono Mabote, as the cars allegedly raced along Mdlalose Drive between Protea North and Protea Glen on March 8 2010.
She told how a silver-grey Mini Cooper driven by the accused bumped the front wheels of the blue one, causing it to hit a pavement and then plough into a group of schoolchildren, sending them flying in the air along with it.
The blue Mini Cooper landed on top of two of the children it hit, while two others fell in bushes on the side of the road.
Four children were killed in the accident and two others were severely injured.
Ndlovu also told the court that, as she was the first at the accident scene, she gave information to the media to use for their story, and not the other way around as alleged by the accused’s attorney.
She further told the court that she and Mabote had never discussed details of the accident until they made witness statements to the police.
Defence attorney Ike Motloung accused Ndlovu and Mabote, who testified on Thursday, of having shared information about the accident as their statements had similar facts.
He also accused them of mixing their evidence with what was reported in the media. However, Ndlovu defended herself by telling Motloung that their statements had similar facts as they were together when the accident happened.
Ndlovu also told the court how shortly after the accident Maarohanye was slapped by a woman who had arrived on the scene and told him he had killed the children.
Earlier, she had described to the court the horror sight of the accident scene — a memory that saw her break down and sob uncontrollably, prompting the trial to be briefly stood down.
Motloung grinned immediately after Ndlovu broke down, angering family members in the public gallery who asked whether the death of their children was funny.
Motloung went further in his cross-examination to ask why Ndlovu allegedly sprinkled water in the courtroom and spat around it before the hearing began.
But this prompted an objection from the prosecutor, who requested for the hearing to be briefly stood down to consult with the defence. Members of the public and relatives of the children killed protested and shouted that Motloung should go learn about his culture.
Some of them even offered Ndlovu more water to sprinkle in the court during the break.
However, Motloung returned after the break and retracted the question, admitting it wasn’t relevant to the trial.
Maarohanye and Tshabalala are facing charges of murder, attempted murder, as well as reckless and negligent driving after the initial charges of culpable homicide were changed.
The two were allegedly drag-racing when the accident happened, an allegation their defence attorneys are trying to discredit during the trial.
The trial was postponed to Tuesday shortly a minor began an in-camera testimony for the state. — Sapa