South Africa 10.11.2014 04:23 pm

Zuma did not brake after impact

Picture: Thinkstock

Picture: Thinkstock

Duduzane Zuma did not brake his Porsche after he hit a minibus taxi; if he had his car’s stability unit would have kicked in, an inquest heard on Monday.

When asked what happened on the night of the accident on February 1 on the M1 south off-ramp to Grayston Drive, Sandton, the president’s son said his car hit a body of water and “shot to the left”.

“What did you do as a driver immediately after it shot to the left?” Prosecutor Yusuf Baba asked.

“I held on to the steering wheel.”

“Did you brake?” Zuma was asked.

“No, I didn’t have the opportunity to do that,” he responded.

Baba told Zuma 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, the car’s pause stability management unit (PSM) would have kicked in and returned the car back 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 said 83 kilograms.

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.

It could only be that Zuma was speeding, he said.

“In a taxi with 14 passengers. If you take 80 kilograms [multiplied] by 14 it gives you roughly 1120kgs.

“For you to have knocked that taxi and had that impact [you] must have hit it at a very high speed.”

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

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

Zuma’s Posche rear-ended Jabulani Vusi Dlamini’s minibus taxi in the rain on the M1 south off-ramp to Grayston Drive. Minibus passenger Phumzile Dube was killed and three others were injured.

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.

On Monday, both legal teams had returned from an inspection in loco by 2.30pm to determine the landscape of the road and whether a puddle could have occurred where Zuma claimed it had.

The Johannesburg metro police was asked to escort the legal teams on the route that both Zuma and the taxi driver took on the night of February 1.

Sapa

 

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