Duduzane Zuma was not speeding when he crashed his Porsche into a minibus taxi during a storm in Johannesburg in 2014, a man who witnessed the accident told the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
“It was raining so hard, I saw a storm that I have never seen before,” a nervous-looking Michael Jankelowitz said, testifying for the defence in Zuma’s culpable homicide trial.
He told the court visibility was poor because it was raining heavily. Jankelowitz said when he left Montecasino it started raining and it became harder as he got onto the M1.
Jankelowitz said he later heard about the accident on a popular radio station and called in because the radio DJ was “exaggerating” when saying the Porsche was racing.
“The car drove past my car. I saw it, he was not driving at an excessive speed,” he testified. He added that the road was excessively wet.
After five years Jankelowitz still remembers everything on the night when Zuma had the accident. He said he then called Zuma’s lawyer and asked if he could come forward and assist with the case.
State prosecutor Yusuf Baba asked Jankelowitz why he approached Zuma’s lawyers and not the State.
“I thought Zuma would not get a fair trial and all I wanted to do was to give my facts of what happened. That is all,” Jankelowitz responded.
Earlier, accident reconstruction expert Konrad Lotter corroborated Zuma’s testimony. He told the court that former president Jacob Zuma’s son was not speeding on the night of the fatal crash. He said that if Zuma was speeding at a higher speed than the taxi he collided with, he would have missed it altogether.
He said Zuma and the minibus taxi driver were driving at a far lower speed than the 120km/h limit on the M1 South near Grayston Drive.
Lotter said Zuma lost control of his car because of the water that was on the road.
Elias Maangwale, an investigator for AfriForum, said he was surprised at Jankelowitz’s testimony that he witnessed the crash as he never approached police or the National Prosecuting Authority to inform them he was a witness.
“We are happy that the matter is in court, even though the mother is still struggling with the pain of losing her daughter and we are hoping for the better,” said Maangwale.
The public gallery was packed with Black First Land First political party members, who were supporting Zuma.
The mother and brother of the late Phumzile Dube were also present, supported by AfriForum.
Zuma has pleaded not guilty to the culpable homicide charge and negligent driving. The matter was postponed to June 20.
The former president’s son was initially charged with two counts of culpable homicide in relation to the accident which resulted in the deaths of Phumzile Dube and Nanki Jeanette Mashaba.
Dube died after Zuma’s Porsche crashed into the minibus taxi on the M1 in Johannesburg. Mashaba later died in hospital. However, the court withdrew one of the charges after it was found that Mashaba had another pre-existing medical condition.
In March, the court rejected Zuma’s application to have the culpable homicide case against him discharged.
– African News Agency (ANA)