Mondli Zuma delayed blood sample, evaded arrest – traffic cop

2013-09-11 14:10

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A traffic police officer has described how would-be Gauteng SAPS commissioner Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma tried to escape arrest five years ago.

Senior Provincial Inspector Karen Bishop has told the Pietermaritzburg Magistrates’ Court that Zuma was chased to his home after he failed to stop his white Mercedes Vito at a roadblock they had set up in the city’s Alexandra Road in December 2008.

She testified that she and her partner found Zuma and a woman seated in the car outside his home after they had briefly lost sight of it. The keys were still in the ignition and the engine lights were still on, she testified.

Zuma was asked to get out of the car and a breathalyser sample was taken from him. This recorded an alcohol content of 0.65mg per 1 000ml of breath, well over the legal limit.

Zuma, Bishop said, was informed that he was being arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and her colleague then attempted to handcuff him.

They intended, she told the court, to take him into custody in order to have a blood sample or a Draeger breath sample taken as evidence for court.

Zuma, however, “pushed him (her partner) and then jumped over the gate into the driveway,’’ before running inside the front door of the house.

Bishop said that, after two hours, the time within which a blood or breath sample needed to be taken to be accurate, Zuma reappeared, talking on the cellphone. He was then taken into custody.

Zuma made headlines after media exposure of his charges of drunken driving and defeating the ends of justice – which only got to court this year – forced SA Police Service (SAPS) commissioner General Riya Phiyega to withdraw his appointment as Gauteng SAPS commissioner on the same day he was appointed.

Zuma, a former ANC security official who participated in the Shell House massacre, did not disclose his outstanding case, which was part heard at the time of his appointment.

Bishop will be cross-examined by Zuma’s lawyer, Sergie Brimiah, after the lunchtime adjournment.

During Bishop's cross examination, Zuma’s lawyer Sergie Brimiah attempted to highlight contradictions between her evidence and that of her partner that night, traffic officer Kerwin Johansen.

Among the areas probed by Brimiah were discrepancies about how the failed arrest took place; who played what role and who was present. Brimiah said that either Bishop or Johansen was lying about the course of events and accused her of trying to mislead the court.

Brimiah told the court Zuma's version was that he never escaped from custory or pushed Johansen and that he only realised that police were at his home when he walked outside and found their vehicles there.

Zuma would also deny that any breathalyser test was carried out on him.

Brimiah questioned how a ''man the size of'' Zuma could have scaled a 2m gate.

''Adrenalin,'' answered Bishop.

Brimiah said the traffic officers had met before the trial to try and manufacture a consistent version of events.

Bishop's cross examination will be completed tomorrow, after which an adjournment date will be set.

» This article was updated after first published.

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