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Zuma cleared of drunk driving

Pietermaritzburg - Senior police officer Lt-Gen Bethuel Zuma was acquitted on charges of drunken driving and resisting arrest by the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

Magistrate Reard Abrahams found the State had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Zuma was guilty and could therefore not secure a conviction.

Major-General Bethuel Mondli Zuma. Credit: Independent Newspapers

Zuma made headlines last year when he was appointed as Gauteng's provincial police commissioner, but was axed hours later when details of the pending case against him emerged.

Abrahams said on Tuesday that the two State witnesses, Road Traffic Inspectorate officers Luke Johanson and Karen Bishop, had given contradictory evidence, which the court found to be of material nature to the case.

According to Abrahams, the officers had not followed standard procedures in recording statements as part of preparing for the case, despite their nine years' experience as officers. The statements also lacked details.

Zuma was charged with drunk driving, escaping from custody, defeating the ends of justice and failing to comply with the instructions of a traffic officer on December 19, 2008, in Pietermaritzburg.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of failing to stop when ordered to, drunk driving, attempting to escape from custody, and defeating the ends of justice.

The charges of driving under the influence and defeating the ends of justice were withdrawn in December.

Zuma allegedly ignored officers' instructions to stop at a roadblock in Pietermaritzburg in December 2008, as he thought the roadblock was bogus.

After court, a relieved Zuma told reporters he was happy that the truth had emerged.

Sapa

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