Angel of Soweto now a convicted criminal

Simon Nare

Simon Nare

Once hailed as the Angel of Soweto, the dark side of Jackey Maarohanye started emerging when M-Net's Carte Blanche programme exposed her mismanagement of funds at her school.

It emerged then that she was using her poor pupils to woo overseas donors.

Among high profile celebrities who pledged money were talkshow queen Oprah Winfrey and basketball legend Dikembe Mutombo.

The M-Net programme revealed that some of the millions she received in donations did not go to the people they were intended for.

Several children who had been expelled from Ithuteng Trust, her school, and were interviewed in the programme alleged that Maarohanye gave them harrowing but untrue personalised stories to memorise for the benefit of the media and sponsors.

They also claimed Maarohanye had lied to the world when she claimed that a 100percent pass rate had been achieved by her pupils.

It was also revealed that some tertiary institutions never received bursary payments from Maarohanye for students she promised to sponsor.

After the expose, Maarohanye went into hiding, evading journalists and the police.

Unbeknown to many, Maarohanye at the time was facing several charges in two cases, including public violence, housebreaking, theft, kidnapping and assault.

She was later charged with housebreaking and theft after she and her supporters allegedly stormed the home of a former pupil, Victor Mohale, and burnt his belongings.

Former pupil Simphiwe Ncoguthu was a kidnapping victim. He was taken from his home to the school where he was severely assaulted and paraded naked in the streets.

This was the case which yesterday earned her a four-year imprisonment or an R8000 fine.

Maarohanye, in happier days before the Carte Blanche expose, was media friendly. But that soon changed.

She would not take calls from journalists and barred any media practitioners from her school.

Sowetan journalist Vusi Ndlovu is one reporter who did not escape her wrath.

Ndlovu had gone to her school in Klipspruit to seek an interview with her. But he was allegedly held hostage and assaulted by her and her pupils.

It took police to free him. Maarohanye emerged victorious in a court case emanating from that incident.

She is now suing Sowetan for more than R2million for character assassination.

With a sentence of four years imprisonment or an R8000 fine, she has escaped spending time in jail - she has the money.

Now a convicted criminal, fraud and corruption charges are still pending against her in the commercial crimes court.