The justice department should review SA hip hop singer Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye and Themba Tshabalala’s reduced sentences, South Africans Against Drunk Driving (SADD) said on Thursday.
“It [the reduced sentences] does not send out the message that drugged driving is a serious crime,” spokesperson Caro Smit said in a statement.
Maarohanye and Tshabalala were initially handed 20 years for murder but the High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday converted the murder convictions to culpable homicide.
Their sentences were reduced to 10 years, two of which were suspended.
Judge George Maluleke ruled that the pair were guilty of culpable homicide – and not murder – for killing four schoolchildren during a drag racing accident.
The sentences would be backdated to October 2012 when the two were first sentenced and jailed.
Maarohanye and Tshabalala were also initially sentenced to four years in jail on two attempted murder convictions and another year for driving under the influence of drugs and racing on a public road.
The attempted murder convictions were set aside.
The two were found guilty of murder, attempted murder, driving under the influence of drugs, and racing on a public road by the Protea Magistrate’s Court, Soweto, on 16 October 2012.
Smit said the National Road Traffic Act allowed for a person to be sentenced to nine years for every culpable homicide charge or severe injury inflicted.
“Ten years is an effective 1.6 years imprisonment for each person they killed or brain-damaged and is an insult to the families of those affected, and South African road users at large,” she said.
“They could/should have been sentenced to 54 years each,” Smit said.
Maarohanye and Tshabalala crashed their Mini Coopers into a group of schoolboys in Protea North, Soweto, on 8 March 2010. Four boys – Prince Mohube, Mlungisi Cwayi, Andile Mthombeni, and Phomello Masemola – were killed. Frank Mlambo and Fumani Mushwana were left permanently brain-damaged.