President Jacob Zuma does not recall Daryl Peense spilling a drink on him at the Durban July horse race last year, the Durban Magistrate’s Court heard on Tuesday.
“When I spoke to the president he told me that he did not know Peense and didn’t see him spill a drink on him,” probation officer Masisi Modikoane testified.
She said she was scheduled to meet Zuma on September 27 at his residence in Mahlamba Ndlopfu in Pretoria but this did not materialise.
Zuma told her by telephone that the meeting could not take place because of unforeseen circumstances.
On September 27, she met his legal advisors who replied to her prepared questions on Zuma’s behalf.
“The president was reluctant to see me. He told me he wasn’t in a position to answer the questions I had prepared because he did not know all the contents of the case.”
Modikoane said Zuma communicated in a letter to her that he would rely on the court to judge the matter.
Modikoane recommended a suspended sentence for Peense so he could attend a rehabilitation programme for an alcohol problem.
Drunk at the time
Peense was found guilty of assault on July 27 by the Durban Magistrate’s Court after he spilled his drink on Zuma at the Durban July last year.
During his trial, he denied deliberately spilling his drink, claiming people pushed against him to get a better view of Zuma.
He claimed he was drunk at the time and was standing on a balcony when this happened.
Modikoane described Peense as open and positive during an interview.
“He [Peense] answered my questions and was cooperative,” Modikoane said.
The court heard Peense was convicted for the possession of drugs on October 11 2002 and received a suspended sentence for five years.
Correctional officer Adrian Moodley testified that Peense was not affiliated to any political party.
He conducted a telephonic interview with Peense and recommended the court to grant him correctional supervision.
Moodley testified that he attempted to interview the president but his personal assistant told him Zuma was busy.
The matter was postponed to November 30 for an assessment report on Peense to be submitted. — Sapa