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Zuma crash: Taxi driver snoring in court

2014-11-05 13:37

'I HIT A PUDDLE WITH MY PORSCHE': South African president Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane outside the Randburg Magistrate's Court in August 2014 when a court told him to attend the inquest in November. Image: SAPA / Werner Beukes

JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng - A dead woman, hanging out of a taxi two hours after a crash involving South African president Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane, was the first thing a Johannesburg metro police officer saw at the scene of the crash.

Jeffrey Phogole, who arrived at the accident scene almost two hours after the crash, said through an interpreter during an inquest at the Randburg Magistrate's Court: "The first thing I saw, I saw a person hanging [out] the taxi and dead."

Zuma's Porsche rear-ended Jabulani Dlamini's minibus taxi in rain on the M1 South off-ramp to Grayston Drive, Sandton, in February 2014. Phumzile Dube was the dead woman, three other people were injured

'ZUMA APOLOGISED'

Phogole gave contradictory evidence about the positions, when he arrived on the scene, of the two vehicles. He first said both were in the emergency lane and facing south. Later he said the taxi was at an angle, straddling lanes.

On Tuesday the inquest heard that Zuma's car came to a standstill facing north, with the taxi at an angle to it.

VIDEO: Watch court action

Phogole told the inquest he handed the case to a more senior officer because a person had died. "I didn't do anything [when I arrived], I just called my senior and said there's a person who passed away and he must come take over."

Phogole said he diverted traffic and spoke to both drivers at the scene but explained it was not his duty to file an accident report or to take statements. "He [Dlamini] only told me he was hit [at] the back."

Zuma had apologised, Phogole added. "He said, 'I'm sorry, there was a flood on the road and I hit the taxi'."

Magistrate Lalita Chetty interrupted proceedings to chastise Dlamini for sleeping. She asked him to stand and said: "It's quite contentious of you to be sleeping through these proceedings. We can actually hear you snoring all the way to the bench."

SNORING WITNESS

Dlamini, wearing a grey-and-white sweater, denied it was him snoring. "You need to pay attention sir, do you understand?" she asked before telling him to sit down.

Zuma, wearing a black suit and a dark-blue tie with white spots, sat in the second row of the public gallery. He leaned forward, hands clasped on the back of the bench in front of him.

According to Zuma's statement, he lost control of his Porsche when it hit a puddle. It spun and hit the back of the taxi, coming to rest facing oncoming traffic.

The National Prosecuting Authority said it had in July 2014 declined to prosecute Zuma of lack of evidence. A spokesman said at that time that the matter would be referred to a magistrate for an inquest to determine whether the incident was caused by human error.

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Read more on:    duduzane zuma  |  jacob zuma  |  randburg

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