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Pietermaritzburg - How did the stout Major-General Bethuel Mondli Zuma manage to scale a 2m-high gate to avoid being handcuffed, a traffic officer was asked in the Pietermaritzburg District Court on Wednesday.
His attorney, Sergie Brimiah, pointed to him, seated stoically in the dock, and told senior provincial traffic inspector Karen Bishop to take a good look at him.
Zuma, who was to have been Gauteng’s provincial police commissioner, is charged with drunk driving, escaping from custody, defeating the administration of justice and failure to comply with the instructions of a traffic officer on December 19, 2008.
His appointment was announced on August 31 but withdrawn when details of the case against him emerged.
Brimiah said to Bishop: “Do you really expect this court to believe he can scale a 2m gate?”
Her reply was: “Maybe he had an adrenalin rush.”
Bishop earlier told the court that she and her colleague, Kerwin Johansen, were involved in a roving alcohol roadblock in Alexandra Road, when a white Mercedes Vito refused to stop when it was flagged down.
Zuma was driving the unmarked state vehicle with a woman passenger. At the time, he was on the police staff at Johannesburg International Airport, but was involved in a “project” in Pietermaritzburg.
Bishop and Johansen got into their patrol car and, with sirens blaring and blue lights flashing, they chased after him for about 10 minutes.
They even used the loud-hailer to tell him to pull over.
At the end of the chase, they lost sight of the Mercedes in a street in Pelham, but soon spotted it parked outside a yard.
The traffic officers pulled over and Johansen told Zuma to get out and take a breathalyser test. They said that his breath alcohol content was 0.65mg per 1 000ml of breath.
Johansen placed him under arrest as he was over the legal alcohol limit, which is 0.24mg per 1 000ml of breath. But, as he was about to handcuff him, Zuma pushed him away and leapt the gate.
Bishop said they called for back-up and drove to a nearby intersection where they waited for a superior to arrive. When he did, they drove to the house.
She left and returned an hour later. When she did, she saw Zuma on his cellphone walking out of the yard, followed by a few policemen. By now it was too late to take a blood sample to test for alcohol as too much time had passed for it to be admissible in court.
Under cross examination Bishop admitted that Zuma had not been asked why he had not stopped at the roadblock.
Brimiah said his client would deny “making a run for it” by jumping over the gate.
Bishop was also asked if she knew who Zuma was at the time and she said she had been told by Johansen, he was either a “director or SAPS”.
Cross examination continues on Thursday, after which a new date will be arranged for the trial to resume.