Uri­nat­ing ex-model set to ap­peal

Taxi driver dis­ap­pointed with 3-year sus­pended sen­tence, seen as a bad omen

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - FATIMA SCHROEDER

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.

fatima.schroeder@inl.co.za

Michelle Nomg­cana

Dja­van Ar­rigone

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