“The first thing I saw, I saw a person hanging [out] the taxi and dead,” Jeffrey Phogole said through an interpreter in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court.
He said he arrived on the scene almost two hours after the accident.
Zuma’s Porsche rear-ended Jabulani Dlamini’s minibus taxi in the rain on the M1 south off-ramp to Grayston Drive, Sandton, in February. Minibus passenger Phumzile Dube was killed and three others were injured.
Phogole gave contradictory evidence about the position the two vehicles were in when he arrived.
He first stated that both were in the emergency lane, facing south. Later he said the taxi was at an angle, straddling the lanes.
On Tuesday, the inquest heard that Zuma’s car came to a standstill facing north, with the taxi at an angle to it.
Because a person had been killed, Phogole handed the case to one of his seniors.
“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.”
He said he diverted traffic from the accident.
Phogole spoke to both drivers at the scene, but said it was not his duty to file an accident report or take their statements.
“He [Dlamini] only told me that he was hit [at] the back.” He said Zuma apologised.
“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.”
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 with a dark blue tie with white spots, sat in the second row of the public gallery. He leaned forward, his hands clasped on the backrest of bench in front of him.
According to Zuma’s statement, 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.
In July, the National Prosecuting Authority said it declined to prosecute Zuma due to insufficient evidence. Spokesman Nathi Mncube said at the time the matter would be referred to a magistrate for a formal inquest to determine whether the accident was caused by human error.