"[The conviction] is clear confirmation of justice not only done but manifestly seen to be done," said department spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga on Tuesday.
"We commend the National Prosecuting Authority's aggressive stance of charging irresponsible drivers with murder instead of the usual culpable homicide, which usually attracts non-custodial sentences."
Maarohanye and Tshabalala were found guilty on four counts of murder and two of attempted murder in the Protea Magistrate's Court on Tuesday afternoon.
The two were drag-racing in Protea North, Soweto, on March 8 2010 when they crashed into a group of schoolchildren.
Prince Mohube, Mlungisi Cwayi, Andile Mthombeni, and Phomello Masemola were killed, while Frank Mlambo and Fumani Mushwana were seriously injured.
Proved beyond reasonable doubt
Tshabalala, dressed in a suit, and Maarohanye, in a tan leather jacket and braided hair, barely looked at each other once during Nemavhidi's summary.
"The state managed to prove beyond reasonable doubt … that the accused are guilty on four counts of murder … two counts of attempted murder," said Magistrate Brian Nemavhidi.
He also convicted them of racing on a public road and driving while under the influence of drugs.
"The death of the deceased occurred as a result of the driving of those vehicles and as such the accused are convicted of driving their vehicles while under the influence of drugs," he said.
The court had to be called to order as the magistrate delivered his judgment.
The families of the victims could not control their emotions. One woman was carried out of court after fainting and an official passed water around to other people, while schoolmates of the deceased broke down and cried.
Besides looking around to his family once, Maarohanye showed little emotion, as did Tshabalala. – Sapa