Duduzane Zuma's lawyers explain why culpable homicide case should be discharged

No evidence presented to the court showing President's son had been driving negligently

Duduzane Zuma's lawyers tell court why culpable homicide case should be discharged

27 March 2019

The Randburg Magistrate's Court has heard why the culpable homicide case against Duduzane Zuma should be discharged.

Zuma's lawyers brought the application for dismissal after the State concluded its case on Wednesday.

The State has called six witnesses since the trial got underway on Tuesday.

Zuma initially faced two charges of culpable homicide and a count of negligent driving relating to a car crash on February 1, 2014, on the M1 highway in Gauteng.

On the day, he was driving his Porsche when it crashed into the side of a minibus taxi, resulting in the death of Zimbabwean national Phumzile Dube.

However, at the start of the proceedings on Tuesday, prosecutor Yusuf Baba indicated that one culpable homicide charge would be withdrawn.

Though Nanki Jeanette Mashaba, who was injured in the accident, died in hospital several weeks later, her death was as a result of a pre-existing condition and not the accident, Baba said.

Zuma's lawyers argued there was no evidence presented to the court showing he had been driving negligently.

"Where is the evidence that the bizarre accident was caused by the driver of the Porsche?" asked Mike Hellens, SC, on behalf of Zuma.

Former president in court to support son

Supported in court by his father, former president Jacob Zuma, and sister Duduzile, Duduzane Zuma sat in the dock wearing a grey suit, black shirt and tie, listening on as Hellens made the application.

Hellens argued the State's witnesses failed to incriminate the younger Zuma, and also failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he was speeding or driving recklessly on the night of the accident.

Flooding on the M1 highway and the term "aquaplaning" dominated arguments in the first session of Wednesday's proceedings.

Graphic description

The session began with the court calling its fifth witness, Sharlotte Ndlangisa, a passenger who sustained injuries during the crash.

"All I could remember after the crash was seeing Phumzile (Dube) hanging out of the taxi, and when I went closer to her, I saw that her hair and eyes were full of blood," said Ndlangisa.

Ndlangisa continued to describe the graphic images of the accident in her submissions, and said to the court that she was the one who was sitting next to the deceased Dube.

"After the accident, Mr Duduzane (Zuma) took me to his car where we waited for the ambulance," she continued.

Prosecutor Baba asked Ndlangisa to share what had happened in her view.

"I can't remember what happened, but I heard a sound (a crash) on the car and the car swerved around and turned to the opposite direction," she added.

The sixth witness was accident reconstruction expert Johan van Loggerenberg, who submitted that after examining the accident scene, he saw no water on the road, and "concluded that human error may have been a factor leading to the accident".

But Hellens was quick to put it to him that a report, which he co-authored, revealed that the taxi and Zuma's Porsche were driving at similar speeds, and that there was no recklessness attributed to Zuma.

Hellens said no evidence suggests that Zuma was speeding, nor did he commit an error, but that his car aquaplaned, and thus he had no control over it.

The matter continues.