Senior ANC member Yengeni denies he was drunk when pulled over in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN, June 7 (ANA) – African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee member Tony Yengeni has told the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court that he was not drunk when he was arrested on August 11, 2013, in Greenpoint in Cape Town.
Yengeni told the court: “If I was five times over the legal limit, I would have caused a serious accident. I don’t agree with the state’s case that I was drunk.”
The ANC veteran believes the case against him is a political conspiracy engineered by the Democratic Alliance (DA).
During a heated cross examination on Tuesday, he was adamant that his case had been expedited because of who he was. His blood samples were analysed within two weeks of being taken, which was unusual as the forensic laboratory usually battled major backlogs.
“It means citizens are treated unequally. Why? I’m asking myself, why is it that my blood is so important it must jump the queue?” he asked.
But state prosecutor Leon Snyman argued there was nothing “weird about asking for someone’s blood to be expedited”.
“You have such an issue that your blood was expedited, but your trial only started in 2015. You are saying it was done because you think there is some influence there. There was no push from the State to start your trial. This picture of a conspiracy doesn’t fit.”
Yengeni has insisted that he had just three sips of African beer on the day of his arrest and that he was not intoxicated. This, despite his blood alcohol showing he was five times over the legal limit.
He was shown footage earlier on Tuesday of himself driving. His car approaches an intersection in Greenpoint and can be seen crossing over a barrier line.
Snyman hammered him about inconsistencies about his evidence and pointed out to the court that he had previously testified that he had driven straight and had not changed lanes.
Yengeni was forced to concede that “the video footage speaks for itself”.
He was again tripped up on the stand when questioned about his testimony that he had left Gugulethu to go to Greenpoint at 6pm that evening.
Snyman said he was arrested after 10pm, so “where are those missing four hours?”
Yengeni replied: “I left much later than that. I am saying that if I said 6 it must have been a slip of the tongue.”
Snyman retorted: “How many slips of the tongue have there been?”, to which he replied, “millions in my life”.
Yengeni’s defence lawyer Dirk Uijs handed documents to Magistrate Grant Engel in a bid to prove the defence’s contention that the case was a political conspiracy.
These included a statement by Democratic Alliance MP Diane Kohler-Barnard released the day after Yengeni’s arrest, as well as an email written by a senior prosecutor to the forensic laboratory instructing them to expedite the analysis of Yengeni’s blood sample.
The DA statement called for justice to take its course and referred to drunk driving charges levelled against Yengeni in 2007.
In that case, he was acquitted, and the Goodwood police station commander was fired and convicted of defeating the administration of justice for tampering with Yengeni’s blood sample.
Snyman questioned what was wrong with Kohler-Barnard trying to ensure that that didn’t happen again.
Yengeni, clearly agitated, said “she had no business putting her face in that”.
“Political parties should not interfere in court cases. To issue a statement, and say that was very very wrong. I think that’s interference. The DA is an opposition in parliament, I am part of the governing party. It was not correct. And everyday in parliament, we are told, ‘don’t get involved’. My opinion is that she had no business in the first place to get worked up about my case.”
Snyman asked Yengeni if he thought she would have issued such a statement had the 2007 case never happened.
Yengeni lost his temper and said: “I’m not in her head. I may be black, but I can think.”
The prosecutor then said this was not a “colour issue”, to which Yengeni replied: “It’s very irregular for a political party to get involved in a court case. My eyebrows, were like ‘what’? The DA governs the Western Cape.”
Magistrate Grant Engel postponed the case to June 24 when experts will be called to testify.
– African News Agency (ANA)
Disclaimer: This story is pulled directly from the African News Agency wire, and has not been edited by Mail & Guardian staff. The M&G does not accept responsibility for errors in any statement, quote or extract that may be contained therein.