Data from the e-toll gantries on Johannesburg’s M1 South highway cannot be relied on to provide answers in the inquest into the fatal accident involving President Jacob Zuma’s son. The information supplied by the South African National Roads Agency was “inconsistent, irreconcilable and impossible”, prosecutor Yusuf Baba told the Randburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
This was during closing arguments in the inquest into the death of Phumzile Dube, 30, on February 1. Dube died when Duduzane Zuma’s Porsche crashed into a taxi she was travelling in that was driven by Jabulani Dlamini, 29. Zuma said he lost control of the car when he hit a puddle. Baba had hoped to use data from the gantries to determine whether Zuma had been speeding. The data showed that Dlaminipassed through the Owl gantry on the N1 North highway at 9.04pm.
But there is no proof of him passing through the Tarentaal gantry, also on the N1. Dlamini must have used the route to reach the Grayston Drive offramp, where the accident happened, Baba said. Data showed that Zuma, 32, passed through the Tarentaal gantry at 10.43pm. This, Baba said, was impossible because “it is common cause that the accident happened at 10pm”.
Baba argued that Zuma should be held responsible for Dube’s death. “My humble submission is that Zuma was negligent on that particular night,” he said. “There is sufficient evidence to prepare a charge of culpable homicide.”
He said Dlamini could not be held responsible. Gary Mazaham, Zuma’s lawyer, said neither Zuma nor Dlamini could be found to have been at fault. “The pool of water was unforeseen,” Mazaham said. He said the weather and conditions on the road were to blame for the accident.
The hearing was postponed to next month for a decision.