President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane could be hauled before the courts to face a criminal charge of culpable homicide.
Civil rights group AfriForum on Tuesday announced that they would pursue the prosecution after the National Prosecuting Authority’s 2015 decision not to.
Leading the charge is renowned prosecutor Gerrie Nel.
AfriForum is in the process of applying for a nolle prosequi – a certificate needed for a private prosecution. Such a certificate can only be obtained once the NPA has made a decision not to prosecute a matter.
Zuma is to be prosecuted for the death of Phumzile Dube‚ who died after Zuma crashed his Porsche into the minibus taxi she was travelling in on the M1 highway in 2014.
Jeanette Mashaba‚ who was also in the taxi‚ died a few weeks after the crash. But her death was ruled to be the result of natural causes.
Zuma‚ during the inquest into Dube’s death‚ which began in November 2014‚ claimed that his vehicle had hit a puddle of water on the highway and that he lost control of his car before he collided with the taxi. The force of the impact spun the taxi into a barrier.
The NPA declined in 2015 to prosecute Zuma because a review of the evidence showed there was no chance of a successful prosecution.
The NPA’s decision not to prosecute Zuma was made despite the inquest magistrate‚ Lalitha Chetty‚ ruling that Zuma had been negligent and that his actions had led to Dube’s death.
AfriForum head Kallie Kriel said they had begun the nolle prosequi process.
“Once that certificate is obtained‚ we will have 90 days within which to start the prosecution.”
He said if the NPA declined to issue the certificate‚ they would have to provide a valid reason why.
Zuma did not report the accident to police immediately‚ but only gave a statement to investigators eight days later. It is not known why.
The first person Zuma contacted after the crash was his friend and business partner Tony Gupta.
Leaked Gupta emails‚ which have been published by The Times‚ show that just before the inquest Zuma had settled R7‚000 in speeding fines for which he had been issued with warrants of arrest. The existence of the fines never emerged during the inquest.
Leaked Gupta emails also show that Zuma’s lawyer Gary Mazaham had advised Zuma on how to tailor his testimony to fit the initial account he submitted to police after the accident‚ telling him in one letter to “please carefully reconsider his recordal [sic]” of certain details.
When approached by The Times about Zuma’s contradictory statements‚ NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku said: “Such evidence‚ if in existence‚ must be placed before the prosecution for same to be considered with all the facts surrounding this matter. Depending on the nature of the evidence‚ the prosecution will always review and consider its decision based on the new evidence‚ if [it] is relevant to the conduct on the date of the accident.”
By: Graeme Hosken