Duduzane Zuma acquitted of culpable homicide after Porsche crash

Randburg, Johannesburg. Duduzane Zuma
Randburg, Johannesburg. Duduzane Zuma
Image: Alon Skuy

Duduzane Zuma was found not guilty of culpable homicide on Friday.

Phumzile Dube, mother to a young daughter, died after Zuma's Porsche was involved in a collision with the minibus she was travelling in on the M1, near the Grayston turnoff in Johannesburg, in 2014.

Her family was in court on Friday to hear the verdict.

Supported by former president Jacob Zuma and his sister Duduzile, he heard magistrate Tebogo Thupaatlase declare that there was no evidence that he had failed to keep a proper look-out.

There was an unforeseeable puddle of water, and there was no proof that even by reducing his speed, Zuma could have prevented his vehicle from aquaplaning (losing control of the vehicle because of water on the surface of the road).

Dube's family members in court appeared disappointed as they emerged from an office after consulting with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), following the verdict.

"We respect the decision of the court, but the family is not happy," said Elias Maangwale, Afriforum's private investigator. The organisation's private prosecution unit had applied to privately prosecute Zuma, after the NPA had initially declined to do so due to "insufficient evidence".

During trial proceedings, Zuma told the court that on the day of the accident there was heavy rain and visibility was poor.

He also told the court that he had been driving at a speed of about 120km/h and had hit a puddle of water, which resulted in his vehicle losing control and the vehicle spinning.

Michael Jankelowitz, a motorist who testified on Zuma's behalf in May, told the court he was driving on the same road when Zuma's Porsche collided with a minibus taxi.

Jankelowitz corroborated Zuma's version that it had been raining on the fateful night and that he was not speeding.

During closing arguments last month, Zuma’s counsel, Mike Hellens SC, said there was no evidence that Zuma was travelling at an excessive speed when he overtook the minibus taxi.

Hellens contended that Zuma could not avoid aquaplaning.

“Aquaplaning happened unexpectedly. What could Mr Zuma have done to avoid aquaplaning that night? At what speed was he supposed to drive that night to avoid aquaplaning?"

However, prosecutor Yusuf Baba had argued that aquaplaning did not happen on its own and that there were factors affecting it, such as “tyre pressure, the speed of the vehicle”.

Duduzane Zuma was found not guilty of culpable homicide after Phumzile Dube, mother to a young daughter, died after Zuma's Porsche was involved in a collision with the minibus she was travelling in in 2014.

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