Appeal fails, Zulu on his way to prison

2012-05-05 00:00

DURBAN businessman and socialite Sifiso Zulu will go to jail after failing in his appeal against his convictions and sentences arising from a fatal car accident in Durban on March 29, 2008.

Appeal Judge Pete Koen and Acting Judge Themba Mjoli rejected Zulu’s claims that he wasn’t driving at the time and said the evidence pointed irresistibly to him having been the driver.

He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment (two of which were suspended conditionally), plus fines totalling R7 500. The main charges arose from a collision caused when Zulu’s BMW X5 jumped a red robot and collided with a Colt Mitsubishi double cab bakkie at the NMR Avenue/Somtsue Road intersection at 9 pm.

Two members of the Harbour Ministries church were killed and 12 people were injured.

The driver of the BMW fled the scene of the accident. Zulu later claimed he was not in the driver’s seat, but had been asleep at home at the time.

According to evidence, his friend, then transport MEC Bheki Cele, was called to the accident scene and took Zulu to the police station.

Zulu at first claimed that Dumusani Ngcobo was driving, and later told state witnesses that the driver was Bongumusa Gumede.

Zulu did not testify in his defence and could not be cross-examined.

The appeal court found his version that Gumede was driving had been a “poorly and ill-conceived strategy to mislead the court and defeat the administration of justice”.

They termed the strategy “amateurish” and said that for Zulu to have thought it could ever have any prospect of success was to “insult the intelligence of the learned magistrate, who to his credit was not fooled by this deceit”.

The appeal court said the magistrate had given a “well-reasoned judgment”, had not misdirected himself in any respect and said the case against Zulu was overwhelming.

Zulu’s version was “riddled with contradictions”.

The sentences were appropriate, “if not lenient”, the judges said.

An aggravating factor was that Zulu had shown no remorse.

A legal source said that the usual time given to surrender is within 48 hours of the decision being handed down.

The Correctional Services Department told Weekend Witness last night it was unable to confirm when Zulu would report for jail.

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