Crash victim's mom disheartened over #DuduzaneZuma's acquittal
Gauteng / 12 July 2019, 2:09pm / Thembelihle Mkhonza
Johannesburg - "Nothing would bring my child back, she is dead and it's over," said a dejected Adina Dube from Zimbabwe, whose daughter died five years ago in a minibus taxi when it was crashed into by Duduzane Zuma's Porsche.
Dube made her remarks outside the Randburg Magistrates' Court on Friday after the 35-year-old accused was found not guilty and set free.
In 2014, her daughter, Phumzile Dube, who was riding a taxi died in the M1 collision resulting in Zuma, the son of former president Jacob Zuma, being charged.
Another passenger Nanki Jeanette Mashaba suffered broken ribs and other blunt force injuries in the crash. She died later in hospital, but her death was thought to have been caused by an existing condition. Three other people were also hurt in the crash.
Initially, the younger Zuma had been charged with two counts of culpable homicide and negligent driving. One count was dropped after Mashaba's death was attributed to an existing health condition.
On Friday Magistrate Tebogo Thupaatlase said the state had failed to prove its case beyond "reasonable doubt". Unlike some of the state witnesses whose versions of events were contrary, the magistrate said he found the evidence given by the accused was "consistent".
Zuma was accompanied by his father and twin sister, Duduzile. The former president and his daughter sat next to each other on a bench in the public gallery.
The court room was packed. Security was tight.
After going through the evidence, Thupaatlase pointed out several inconsistencies in the state witnesses testimonies. He said evidence by accident experts was not in dispute that aqua planning could occur for a number of reasons including, tyre treds, amount of water on the tarmac and speed.
The magistrate said he was satisfied that Zuma had not been negligent and that he did not fail to do anything a reasonable person would have done to prevent the tragedy. In fact other witnesses corroborated Zuma's evidence that his car spun out of control when he hit a pool of water on the road.
Thupaatlase also found discrepancies regarding the damages to the minibus taxi that had been attributed to the crash because Zuma's car was never airborne - meaning some of the damage on the taxi was too high up to have been caused by the Porche colliding into it.
After the acquittal, AfriForum's senior special investigator Elias Mangwale said he was not happy about the judgment, but he had accepted it. He said the bereaved family was not satisfied at all.
"We believe that there was a case to answer that's why we pushed it to the court, but we respect the judgment," said Mangwaale.
National Prosecutions Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said they respect the court decision.
"Justice must be fair and it only seeks to uncover the truth and we believe that has been achieved. We commend the nature of work that was placed behind the preparations for this case as the prosecutor was working non-stop for this case to be solved," said Mjonondwane.
Members of Black Land First (BLF), who have thrown their weight behind Zuma since the trial began, said they were happy and satisfied about the judgment.
"We welcome the judgment by the court, we have always maintained that AfriForum brought this case to settle the battle that they have with the former president Jacob Zuma ... to get to him," said Zanele Lwana, deputy president for BLF.
"Duduzane did not plan the accident ... he is not a murderer, it was a mistake and we are happy that Zuma has been found not guilty. We sympathise with the Dube family who lost their family member."