News24

Jogger: Sorry President Zuma

2010-02-18 23:16

Johannesburg - The Cape Town student who gave President Jacob Zuma's blue light convoy the finger has apologised for his actions, the Police Ministry said on Thursday.

Chumani Maxwele had two criminal records, one for common assault, the other for riotous behaviour, both committed between 2007 and 2009, spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said in a statement.

He made his apology under oath, voluntarily in a hand-written statement last Wednesday, the day of his arrest.

Maxwele and a friend were jogging during evening rush-hour along the M3 towards the University of Cape Town, when he gestured and "made a comment" directed at "cars making noise", his statement reads.

"With out anytime (sic) I saw a car of police stopping by my side, two mans (sic) came out shouting at me and they said: 'come, get in the car, you disrespect the President of the Republic of South Africa' and he said they arrest me for disrespecting the President.

"I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the President of the Republic of South Africa Mr Zuma for my bad manners during his transportation.

'Not a bad boy'

"I would like to apologise also to the people whom were accompanying the President of South Africa as well as to the police," he says.

Maxwele goes on to state he is "not a bad boy", but a disciplined member of his family, of the Woodstock community and the ANC Youth League.

Mnisi said according to Captain Sandisile Mafunda, commander of the officers that arrested Maxwele, he "was showing gestures with his right-hand with his middle finger pointing up-right (sic) with the remaining fingers folded, uttering the remarks towards the President's convoy saying 'fuck you Zuma... you are disrupting traffic'."

The ministry had decided to make the statement public due to "misrepresentation" of the facts of the matter.

Mnisi dismissed claims Maxwele was "physically victimised" during his arrest, saying he would have been mentioned this in his affidavit.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa said in the statement: "Let us lay this matter to rest, as the person concerned has now apologised."

Mnisi could not be reached for comment on reports earlier on Thursday that Mthethwa had asked the Independent Complaints Directorate to investigate.

The Sowetan reported last week that Maxwele was pushed into the bodyguards' car at gunpoint, had a bag pulled over his head, was held for just under 24 hours while agents interrogated him and apparently asked for the names of his friends and of his ANC branch chair. He said his house was raided by plainclothes policemen while in custody. He was released before appearing in court.