Magistrate Lalita Chetty interrupted proceedings in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court to chastise Jabulani Dlamini for sleeping in the public gallery.
“It’s quite contentious of you to be sleeping through these proceedings. We can actually hear you snoring all the way to the bench,” she told him after she asked him to stand up.
Dlamini denied being the snorer.
“You need to pay attention sir, do you understand?” Chetty asked before telling him to sit down.
Zuma’s Porsche rear-ended 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.
Later Chetty criticised Johannesburg metro police offer Jeffrey Phogole’s testimony.
“And perhaps the family of the deceased who are present here today, I can’t imagine how they feel to have sensed the kind of apathy that came across from your testimony,” she told him.
“I have to voice my disappointment that we spent an entire day with an officer of the JMPD and I’m still left where we left off with yesterday’s proceedings.”
Phogole was the first metro police officer at the scene of the accident. He arrived two hours after it happened.
Phogole told the inquest that the first thing he saw when he arrived at the scene was a dead woman hanging out of the taxi.
Phogole denied spending most of his time at the scene sitting in his car, as it was raining.
“He’s lying,” he told the inquest when Gary Mazaham, for Zuma, told him Zuma had claimed this.
He denied it had been raining. Other witnesses had testified that it had been raining.
According to Zuma’s statement, he lost control of his Porsche after it hit a puddle. It spun, hit the back of the taxi and came to a standstill facing oncoming traffic.
Mazaham questioned Phogole about the times recorded in his notebook, which had been scratched out and changed. They did not correspond with the times recorded in his superior, accident investigator Johannes van Loggerenberg’s report.
Phogole insisted he arrived before his senior and could not say if one of them had noted the times incorrectly.
Mazaham criticised Phogole for not taking accurate notes and said his evidence was full of inconsistencies.
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.
The inquest is expected to continue on Thursday with Van Loggerenberg’s testimony.