News / South Africa / Courts

Gopolang Moloko
3 minute read
27 Mar 2019
4:59 pm

Jacob Zuma won’t rule out detractors targeting him through his son

Gopolang Moloko

He believes those with a gripe against him could be responsible for the criminal case against Duduzane being resuscitated.

Former president Jacob Zuma(L) and his son Duduzane Zuma at the Randburg Magistrate's Court where his son was appearing for culpable homicide, 24 January 2018. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Former president Jacob Zuma maintains the state is yet to prove his son Duduzane was reckless and negligent on the night Duduzane was involved in a crash with a minibus taxi in 2014.

The accident five years ago claimed the life of 30-year-old Phumzile Dube.

Speaking at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, Zuma said solid evidence was tabled to clear his son of the culpable homicide charge.

“It is clear that there is no evidence that has been given that he was reckless, well, we leave everything to your worship.

“It’s difficult to say that,” Zuma said, referring to people that might have a gripe against him and who are now targeting his son, “that is not the case, because as I said, there was a process that was undertaken, that was a legal process, and it was concluded. Why then come back?” referring to the case being resuscitated.

He believes the matter was over when the inquest was closed, but disclosed that there could be an ulterior motive by those that had a gripe with him. He would not rule out that those people wanted to get back at him through his son.

Duduzane is currently applying for the charges against him to be discharged after his defence counsel Mike Hellens argued that the state’s case lacked sufficient evidence to prove that Duduzane was driving recklessly that night.

Hellens told the Randburg Magistrate’s Court that Zuma was not driving recklessly when his car crashed, but a water puddle caused him to lose control of his Porsche.

He urged the court to acquit the younger Zuma on all charges as there was no evidence to indicate the culpability of the crash. He argued that the state had failed to indicate that Zuma was indeed reckless and negligent on the night of the accident in 2014.

“The state does not have accident reconstruction evidence which would explain what could have happened that night.”

He drew on research done on Porches to argue that Zuma’s vehicle, due to its weight and wide tires, was likely to aquaplane (slide uncontrollably on a wet surface) and Zuma was unaware that his vehicle had this inclination.

He maintained the state could not answer the question of what caused the accident, which in turn meant the state had failed to make a case of negligent driving against Zuma

State prosecutor Yusuf Baba said there were clear facts that implicated Zuma on the night in question.

Questions on how deep the water was on the night did not take away the fact that it was the driver’s responsibility on the road to ensure the safety of other motorists, he said.

Duduzane drove a Porsche, there were white marks from the combi on the Porsche, and the late Nanki Jeanette Mashaba and Phumzile Dube were at the scene, which was corroborated, the court heard.

Baba said Zuma’s defence wanted the court to ignore the earlier testimonies from three witnesses and that should not be allowed by the court.

Responding to Hellens’ claim that Zuma’s car was prone to aquaplaning, Baba responded: “Every car was prone to aquaplaning. What did he [Zuma] do prior to that? That was the test.”

This instrument can kill, argued Baba, and it was the driver’s responsibility to reduce speed in the event of rain.

Zuma is no longer being prosecuted on two counts of culpable homicide, but only one, as the second charge was withdrawn.

Taxi passenger Dube was killed and three others were injured after Zuma’s Porsche rear-ended a minibus taxi on the M1 South off-ramp to Grayston Drive in Sandton. Later, a second passenger, Nanki Jeanette Mashaba, also passed away in hospital, due to what has now been determined as pre-existing conditions.

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