A lesson for roadhogs
THE conviction and imprisonment of hip-hop star Molemo "Jub Jub" Maarohanye and fellow accused Themba Tshabalala, though welcome, is a sad reminder of how life can take a wrong, irreversible turn.
Maarohanye spent his second night in prison last night, while on the outside the news media and the talk on radio were dominated by the sad demise of what could have been an exemplary life.
Though many might feel sorry for "Jub Jub" and Tshabalala, we dare not lose sight of the fact that far too many people in this country fall victim to the mayhem on our roads.
During every holiday season the nation is sadly regaled with statistics of road deaths that make a mockery of the countless campaigns mounted to curb the carnage.
People are killed and maimed on the roads because of the selfish acts of people like Maarohanye.
Today, the families of Andile Mthombeni, Mlungisi Cwayi, Phomello Masemola and Prince Mohube, who were killed by Maarohanye and Tshabalala, are still grappling with the loss, two years later.
Two other families - those of Fumani Mushwana and Frank Mlambo - have been trying to nurse children back to health. Fumani is brain-damaged. Those are the players that deserve our sympathy as this sad tale continues to unfold.
As we await the sentencing of Maarohanye and Tshabalala we hope the court will slap them with the kind of penalty that will ram the message home to those who think little ofdicing with lives on our roads.
Authorities, especially the previous minister of transport S'bu Ndebele, must be commended for advocating and making sure that tougher laws and sentences were passed to help root out this lawlessness.
Today, roadhogs of Maarohanye's ilk face serious charges of murder and attempted murder, instead of the lesser one of culpable homicide for reckless and negligent behaviour behind the wheel.
Cape Town taxi driver Jacob Humphrey is serving an effective 20-year term for the murder of 10 children who died in a crash he had caused with a goods train last year.
Two similar cases are pending in KwaZulu-Natal, one involving a taxi driver who thought it wise to make a U-turn in the middle of a highway, and killed 10 people in the process. It is this kind of madness that leaves us wondering, and doubting even, whether SA roads will ever be safe.
Safe enough for parents to release their children into the streets without any fear, in the knowledge that there won't be some madcap waiting to maim and kill out there.