Zuma describes death of Zimbabwean woman in car crash as ‘tragic’

JOHANNESBURG –  AN ACCIDENT  accident in Sandton earlier this year in which a  Zimbabwean woman, Phumuzile Dube was killed was

“tragic” said  President Jacob Duduzane Zuma  an inquest heard on Monday.

“Regardless of the circumstances, it is tragic, someone has lost a life and people were injured. It is not a nice thing to see,” Zuma told the Randburg Magistrate’s Court.

Dube a mother of one was killed  when Zuma’s son crashed into a minibus taxi she was a passenger .

Magistrate Lalita Chetty postponed the hearing to Wednesday when two experts were expected to testify.

Johannesburg metro police officer Johan van Loggerenberg and accident analyst Hans Strydom would give evidence.

During cross-examination by his lawyer Gary Mazaham on Monday, Zuma said he had been at a restaurant before getting on the road on the night of the accident on February 1.

On whether he had drank  alcohol at the restaurant, Zuma said the last time he had had any alcohol was in 2001.

Zuma’s Porsche rear-ended Jabulani Vusi Dlamini’s minibus taxi in the rain on the M1 south off-ramp to Grayston Drive, Sandton around 10pm on a Saturday night.

Dube was killed and three others were injured.

According to Zuma’, he lost  control of his Porsche after it hit a puddle. It spun and hit the back of the taxi, coming to a standstill facing oncoming traffic.

The inquest heard that Zuma went to the Sandton police station on Sunday morning, the following day, to file an accident report.

Prosecutor Yusuf Baba said Zuma could not be cross-examined on the report because it could not be located. The records at the Sandton police station showed that Zuma had filed a report at the station. Records also showed that the report was transferred to Bramley police station.

“But there is no record of the report at Bramley,” Baba said.

Before the inquest hearing adjourned Baba said he had sent a request to Sanral to furnish the hearing with details of the speed and time at which Zuma and Dlamini were travelling on the highway on the night of the accident.

Baba told Zuma earlier that according to the Porsche manual the car had a stability management unit which would have returned the car to the position it was originally travelling in.

Zuma agreed.

“Exactly. If that is the case sir then how did your motor vehicle spin?”

“I’m not sure, I just remember hitting a puddle.”

Baba put it to Zuma that a Porsche had enough safety features to protect the driver, and if he hadn’t hit his brakes as he claimed he did not, the car’s pause stability management unit (PSM) would have kicked in and returned the car to its original driving position.

He had Zuma read out the specifications on page 67 of the car’s manual. The PSM would not work if the driver was driving at a high speed, it

said.

“The only interpretation is that the person behind the vehicle was speeding.”

Baba then asked Zuma what his body weight was. Zuma responded by saying he weighed 83kg.

Baba put it to him that with the Porsche’s engine and most of the car’s weight at the rear, how could the car have had such an impact on the minibus taxi, which was carrying 14 passengers, that it caused the car to spin, adding that it could have been because Zuma was speeding.

“I disagree. There is a difference between a wet surface and a dry surface, said Zuma..

He said Baba had to add the wetness factor to his equation.

Mazaham later put it to Zuma that no matter which vehicle he would have been driving that night, as far as he was concerned, when the car hit the pool of water on the road and lost control, there was nothing he could have done.

Zuma had conceded while being cross-examined by Baba that the accident would not have happened had he not lost control of his car.

He also said he could not hold Dlamini responsible for the collision. -SAPA