Expert witness testimony matches Duduzane’s story

An accident reconstruction expert confirmed in his testimony that the speed at which Duduzane Zuma was travelling when he crashed into a taxi, was approximately 89km per hour as the former president’s son had previously testified.

Konrad Lotter is an independent forensic engineer who was tasked by Zuma’s defence team to compile a report on the accident. In February 2014, Zuma was driving on the M1 South near the Grayston Drive off-ramp in inclement weather and struck a taxi, leaving one person dead and three others injured.

Testifying before the Randburg magistrates court on Thursday, Lotter pointed out that after taking into account the wet roads and a possible coefficient of friction that was possible to calculate the speed of the Porsche, the car would be going at a speed of between 79 and 89km/h.

He further testified that the taxi was doing around the same speed as Zuma was. Lotter’s testimony followed that of Zuma who was cross-examined by state prosecutor Yusuf Baba.

Baba was at pains to examine the issue of Zuma submitting three different speeds in three different reports. Zuma said in his inquest that he was driving at 70km/h, in the insurance assessors report that he went at 80km/h, and in his testimony that he went between 90 and 100km/h.


Lotter was cross-examined by Baba as well who could not understand how he was able to calculate the speed of the vehicle when two other experts could not. Lotter responded by saying that they should have been able to with the information they were given.

Lotter also explained in his testimony that the Porsche 911 model is prone to aquaplaning at very low speeds after Zuma said that his car aquaplaned when he hit the puddle.

Aquaplaning or hydroplaning by the tires of a vehicle, aircraft or any conveyance with wheels, occurs when a layer of water builds between the wheels of the vehicle and the road surface, leading to a loss of traction, preventing the vehicle from responding to control inputs like brakes.

Lotter said Porsche had even installed a “wet mode” in their new vehicles due to the probability of its vehicles aquaplaning. Baba questioned how many criminal cases Lotter has been involved in where this phenomenon has been encountered.

The court also saw independent witness Michael Jankelowitz, a driver who happened to be driving past at the time of the accident, take the stand. Jankelowitz said he saw Zuma drive past him on the night of February 1 2014 and saw a car’s headlights facing him for a second in the distance a few minutes later, leaving him to conclude that a car had spun out.

Jankelowitz said that he then passed the Porsche and taxi. However, Baba was concerned about why Jankelowitz had never brought this information forward until now. He responded saying that he did not care, but once he heard that advocate Gerrie Nel was going to take on this trial, he knew that Nel would “go for blood”.

The court was adjourned and arguments are now postponed until June 20, which keeps Zuma and Phimilaze Dube’s family — the mother who was killed in the crash— waiting for a judgment in what has already been a long case.

Albert Dube, the brother of Phimilaze, told the Mail & Guardian that they leave the decision in the court’s hands, but would hope for a judgment soon as they have waited five years for the case to be resolved and because Phimilaze’s mother stays in Zimbabwe and it is expensive for her to keep going back and forth to attend court hearings.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Eyaaz Matwadia
Eyaaz Matwadia
Eyaaz Matwadia is a member of the Mail & Guardian's online team.

Related stories

Institutions of higher learning should commemorate their casualties

The bust of Matikweni Nkuna at Tshwane University of Technology is an example of how we should honour those who fought for equal access to education

Seals abort pups in mass die-off

There are a number of factors — a pollutant, virus or bacteria or malnutrition — that may have caused the 12 000 deaths on Namibia’s coast.

Deconstructing South Africa’s construction industry performance

The construction industry has contracted sharply, partly due to Covid, and needs to rebalance its focus if it wants to survive

Editorial: SA will be bankrupted by looters

The chickens have finally come home to roost: if we do not end the looting, it will end us

Zuma vs Ramaphosa? Neither is the leader South Africans deserve

Neither statesman could command sufficient authority in an ANC that remains mired in corruption and infighting and at the behest of big capital

E-payments for the unbanked are booming

The pandemic is providing mobile phone network operators with a unique chance to partner with fintech firms and banks to deliver clever e-commerce solutions to the informal sector in Africa
Advertising

Subscribers only

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

More top stories

Hawks swoop down with more arrests in R1.4-billion corruption blitz

The spate of arrests for corruption continues apace in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Catholic NGO boss accused of racism and abuse in Sudan

The aid worker allegedly called his security guard a ‘slave’

Agrizzi too ill to be treated at Bara?

The alleged crook’s “health emergency” — if that is what it is — shows up the flaws, either in our health system or in our leadership as a whole

SANDF hid R200m expenditure on ‘Covid’ drug it can’t use

Military health officials are puzzled by the defence department importing a drug that has not been approved for treating coronavirus symptoms from Cuba
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday