20 July 2017

South Africa: 'Shenanigans' Caused NPA Not to Prosecute Duduzane Zuma Over Accident

Photo: Werner Beukes/Sapa
Duduzane Zuma (file photo).

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) made a decision not to issue a media statement, after it took a decision not to prosecute President Jacob Zuma's son, Duduzane, for his role in an accident that killed a woman - despite having crafted the statement.

The Times reported that the second decision to not prosecute Zuma was never publicly announced and that the decision emerged from correspondence in the Gupta emails.

NPA spokesperson Phindi Louw sent a press release to News24 - dated 18 August 2015 - in which it announces and details its reasons for declining to prosecute Zuma.

"After careful consideration of the contents of the docket, the report provided by the Senior Public Prosecutor and the magistrate's findings in the inquest proceeding into the unnatural death of the late Phumzile Dube. The Director of Public Prosecutions in South Gauteng has taken a decision not to prosecute the two suspects, Mr Jabulani Vusi Dlamini and Mr Duduzane Zuma," the statement reads.

"The Director of Public Prosecutions has declined to prosecute on the basis that there are no prospects of a successful prosecution on this matter."

Louw said there was something happening at the NPA at the time and a decision was made not to release the statement which had been crafted.

She added that the NPA is not obligated to release statements to the public on decisions that they have taken and that the procedure is to let the affected parties know.

On a rainy evening in February 2014, Zuma rear-ended a taxi after losing control of his Porsche on the Grayston Drive off-ramp on the M1, north of Johannesburg.

Dube was killed instantly while three others were injured.

A second woman, Jeanette Mashaba, died a couple of weeks later. However, during the inquest, it was found that her death was not a result of the accident and that she died in hospital of natural causes.

Insufficient evidence

In July 2014, the NPA declined to prosecute Zuma for the first time, citing insufficient evidence. This was made public and reported by the media.

An inquest was held later that same year - where Magistrate Lolita Chetty found that Zuma could be held responsible for the accident as he had been negligent.

The DA's Glynnis Breytenbach on Wednesday said they would request the inquest documents as the public have a right to know why the NPA came to this decision as it is their job to prosecute people if there is sufficient evidence, regardless of who they are.

"Duduzane's is just the latest in a string of high-profile cases which the NPA have chosen not to take forward and it increasingly seems that the NPA is unwilling to do their job," said Breytenbach.

The inquest heard that Zuma had been driving in the fast lane when a car in the adjacent lane caused a spray of water.

To avoid the splash, Zuma allegedly increased his speed to overtake the car, which is when he hit a puddle, lost control of the car and rear-ended the taxi.

Zuma's lawyer Gary Mazaham argued that hitting the puddle caused Zuma to lose control - which is when his vehicle started aquaplaning.

In her findings, Chetty rejected Zuma's defence that he had aquaplaned and said Zuma failed to conduct himself in a reasonable manner under the weather conditions.

Chetty found that, had Zuma reduced speed, he would not have endangered the lives of others on the road and could have avoided the accident entirely. She said he could have slowed down as there were no cars behind him.

"Unfortunately, Zuma did not do any of the above but chose to drive at normal speed thereby exposing himself to dangerous consequence," said Chetty.

The inquest also found that taxi driver Jabulani Dlamini could not be held responsible for the accident.

Chetty told the inquest that the onus of proof beyond a reasonable doubt was not applied in the inquest and that a less stringent proof was applied which was any evidence accepted that could hold up as being credible in a criminal court.

Source: News24

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