Duduzane Zuma was driving slower than legal speed limit: defence expert

Duduzane Zuma at a previous appearance before the Randburg Magistrate's Court.
Duduzane Zuma at a previous appearance before the Randburg Magistrate's Court.
Image: Karyn Maughan

If Duduzane Zuma had been travelling at a higher speed than the taxi he collided with, he would have missed it altogether, an expert witness for the defence testified on Thursday.

In fact, Zuma and the minibus taxi driver were driving at a far lower speed than the 120km/h limit on the M1 South near Grayston Drive in Johannesburg on February 1 2014.

This is according to accident reconstruction expert Konrad Lotter, who told the Randburg Magistrate's Court that Zuma's Porsche 911 collided with the taxi while driving at 87km/h.

Zuma faces a charge of culpable homicide in relation to the death of taxi passenger Phumzile Dube, mother of a then two-year-old girl. In March, Zuma heard that he would not have to answer for the death of Jeanette Mashaba, another passenger, who died in hospital a few weeks after the crash. The court heard that she had died of natural causes stemming from a pre-existing condition.

According to Lotter, Zuma lost control of his car when it aquaplaned - meaning that he lost control of the vehicle because of water on the road.

A Porsche 911, Lotter said, could aquaplane at a speed as low as 60km/h.

He said when the incident happened, Zuma and the minibus taxi driver were travelling at a similar speed.

"Both vehicles came to a stop in a position close to each other, to indicate that the speed of the two vehicles was similar," Lotter said.

He said if Zuma was speeding, his car would have taken longer to decelerate.

Lotter said he had calculated a speed of 87km/h for Duduzane's Porsche and 89km/h for the taxi.

"Neither of the vehicles was travelling at extreme speed."

Zuma's Porsche, according to Lotter, could have aquaplaned due to the fact that it was a small car with wide tyres.

In March, TimesLIVE reported that the taxi driver, Jabulani Dlamini, told the court he was transporting passengers from Fourways to the Johannesburg CBD. He slowed down on the M1 because it was raining and was driving around 90km/h-100km/h.

The trial continues.