Urinating ex-model set to appeal
Taxi driver disappointed with 3-year suspended sentence, seen as a bad omen
TWO HUNDRED hours of his time is all former model Djavan Arrigone has to give up for urinating on a taxi driver from the balcony of the Tiger Tiger nightclub and, in the process, ruining his taxi driver business of more than 15 years.
The 200 hours of community service is a condition attached to a three- year suspended sentence which the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court handed Arrigone yesterday after he was convicted of assault and crimen injuria in connection with the incident.
But the case could still go to the Western Cape High Court after Arrigone’s advocate, Eben Grobbelaar, indicated his client intended to apply for leave to appeal his conviction.
During the course of January 24, 2014, Arrigone had been at the club partying and drinking with friends before he exposed his genitals to patrons and urinated from the club’s balcony.
His urine landed on Michelle Nomgcana – a metered taxi driver who had operated a taxi service in the area for more than 15 years.
But it didn’t end there. Arrigone laughed when he was alerted to where his urine had landed, made racist remarks and refused to apologise.
A separate Equality Court case Nomgcana has instituted in Wynberg is still pending.
The criminal case, however, was finalised yesterday when magistrate Siviwe Yaki imposed the non-custodial sentence.
She pointed out the case had taken a psychological toll on Arrigone, who had previously attempted suicide and who struggled with his BComm studies at UCT.
He lost his modelling job as a result of the publicity and was unable to find another job, leaving him financially dependent on his father.
Magistrate Yaki said she hoped he had learnt his lesson.
Arrigone, however, was not the only one who suffered as a result of the case and the publicity.
Nomgcana, the court pointed out, could not find work and became a laughing stock in his community because being urinated on was seen as bad luck.
However, she added, given that 21-year-old Arrigone was young and had a clean record, direct imprisonment was not an appropriate sentence.
“He does not appear to be the kind of person who needs to be removed from society.”
A wholly suspended sen- tence on its own would, however, be seen as a slap on the wrist, she added.
Magistrate Yaki said it was “sad and disturbing” courts in South Africa were still dealing with cases involving racism so far into the country’s democracy. It was even more sad when those in the dock were from among the country’s youth and so-called “born frees”.
Speaking outside court, Nomgcana said that although he was relieved the case was finalised, he was disappointed with the sentence.
He had hoped the court would send a message to youth that racism was not acceptable.
“It ruined my life and I don’t know where to start,” he said.
Nomgcana said he had been transporting people in the Claremont for 15 years and even had the odd celebrity and sports personality as clients.
Since he became known as the man on whom a white man had urinated, those in the metered taxi industry and his clients had distanced themselves from him, he said.
“They didn’t want me at the rank,” he said, adding it was like a bad omen when someone urinated on you. He had contemplated suicide at one stage, but had to consider his three children.
Nomgcana said he hoped he would be compensated so he could get his business going again and afford to pay for a cleansing ritual.
Magistrate Yaki has to decide whether to grant Arrigone leave to appeal her judgment.