Theatrics after acquittal

Getrude Makhafola

Getrude Makhafola

The controversial Jackey Maarohanye emerged victorious at the end of her assault and kidnapping trial at Protea magistrate's court, immediately engaging in her usual theatrics yesterday.

Maarohanye had just been acquitted of assaulting and kidnapping Sowetan reporter Vusi Ndlovu.

Waving a thumbs-up sign to her Ithuteng Trust "students" and bystanders, Maarohanye was greeted by song and drumbeat outside court.

By then she had changed into her trademark military camouflage fatigues and cap and led the chanting and dancing.

The 49-year-old director of Ithuteng Trust, Patricia Molaba, 34, Ronnie Nyakale, 34, and Thembi Dladla, 21, were all acquitted on charges of kidnapping and assaulting Ndlovu when he went to the school on February 17 to interview Maarohanye.

Nyakale and Dladla changed into brown overalls and also joined Maarohanye, singing and chanting much to the delight of Ithuteng students who came in droves and dressed in full school uniform.

Defence lawyer Ike Motloung had asked the court during the previous appearance to dismiss all the charges.

Magistrate Andre Auret said it was surprising for a person to be able to communicate freely while being held hostage, referring to Ndlovu's phone calls he made and received during the alleged kidnapping.

"The evidence of the complainant was unreliable and no reasonable court would convict any of the accused based on that," said Auret.

On the assault charge, Auret said that in his testimony Ndlovu said he did not have any bruises.

"I am prepared to accept that some students might have assaulted Ndlovu, but whether there is reasonable evidence to try the accused is questionable," said Auret.

In his evidence, Ndlovu had denied being bruised after the alleged assault, contradicting medical and police evidence.