Johannesburg - Government departments and civil society on Tuesday welcomed the murder conviction of musician Molemo Maarohanye and Themba Tshabalala.
“Whilst this case is a triumph for our justice system, it is our hope that law enforcement agencies begin to take seriously the need for concerted and consistent enforcement of traffic laws in bringing greater compliance and a reduction in road fatalities,” Justice Project SA national chairman Howard Dembovsky said in a statement.
The Protea Magistrate's Court found the two guilty on four counts of murder, two of attempted murder, racing on a public road, and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation also welcomed the judgment.
“It vindicated us because prophets of doom had predicted we would lose the case because we had charged them with murder,” spokesman Ashref Ismail said.
This had been the second case of dangerous driving where a murder charge had been successfully brought, he said.
Maarohanye and Tshabalala were drag-racing on Mdlalose Street on March 8, 2010 when they crashed into a group of school boys.
Prince Mohube, Mlungisi Cwayi, Andile Mthombeni, and Phomello Masemola were killed. Frank Mlambo and Fumani Mushwana were left permanently brain damaged.
The Gauteng transport department said: “The department hopes that this will be a lesson to all reckless road users who continue to disregard road rules.
“This judgment conveys the message that those who wilfully disregard the rules of the road will indeed face the full might of the law,” spokeswoman Octavia Mamabolo said in a statement.
The Gauteng education department welcomed the conviction and would continue to support the affected families and victims.
The United Democratic Movement Women's Organisation general secretary Thandi Nontenja commented: “We are encouraged to see that... suspects are treated as equal before the law, no matter how famous they are.” - Sapa