'Mama Jackey' turns her trial into a farce

Date: 01 Mar 2007
Maarohanye arrives at court dripping in jewels and mocks her accuser Jacqueline "Mama Jackey" Maarohanye is accused of public violence, malicious damage to property and robbery, but that hasn't stopped her from turning her court appearances into a soap opera. Yesterday afternoon, the elegantly dressed Maarohanye, the principal of Ithuteng Trust School in Soweto, came out of the Protea Magistrate's Court moments after her appearance and pleaded with photographers to take "beautiful pictures" of her. This comes a day after she appeared in the same court for allegedly assaulting and kidnapping Sowetan journalist Vusi Ndlovu. She said: "Please take beautiful pictures of me. I am well dressed, and that is because I am married to a rich man." Maarohanye was wearing a striped blue suit and stunning high-heeled pencil shoes, a gold watch and diamond-encrusted bracelets. The only thing that ruined the image was the Toyota Tazz she left in. The car, driven by her husband, Sydney Maarohanye, belongs to her school. On Monday, when Maarohanye appeared for the Ndlovu-related charges, she gave a different explanation about her husband's financial status. Applying to be released on bail, she pleaded with the court that her husband, who was also smartly dressed yesterday, was able to raise only R4 000 for her bail. The court, however, increased the amount to R10 000. During yesterday's hearing, Maarohanye made gestures and laughed at Senior Superintendent Patrick Baloyi, who was testifying against her on charges of public violent, malicious damage to property and robbery. The charges relate to an incident on October 7 last year when she allegedly led a group of her pupils to barricade Old Potch Road to protest about the police's failure to investigate the murder of one of her pupils and damages to her school. During that incident, conflict erupted between the police and pupils. Baloyi maintained, during his cross-examination by defence counsel Ike Motloung, that Maarohanye had incited her pupils to throw stones at the police. He testified that Maarohanye, after the tensions calmed down, had even refused to negotiate with councillors from the City of Johannesburg, including officials from the office of Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Firoz Cachalia. He said they pleaded with Maarohanye to give them the name of the murder suspect allegedly involved in the murder of one of her pupils, but she refused. The court earlier heard that when the police and Maarohanye failed to reach a settlement, she led a group of her pupils to the house of the suspected murderer and damaged it. They then dropped two coffins outside the house before leaving. During Baloyi's testimony, Maarohanye kept on laughing and looking at her supporters, who packed the gallery. The laughter spread to her supporters, until magistrate Corné Volschenk threatened to clear the gallery. There was hardly any space for hundreds of pupils who came to support Maarohanye, yet on Monday during her bail hearing, Maarohanye pleaded with the court to release her as her incarceration affected the pupils at school The case was postponed to May 8. By Baldwin Ndaba The Star 01/03/07