Duduzane Zuma arrives at the Johannesburg Central police station. Picture: ALON SKUY
Duduzane Zuma arrives at the Johannesburg Central police station. Picture: ALON SKUY

Former president Jacob Zuma missed his son Duduzane’s first court appearance for culpable homicide after the prosecutor in the case refused a request from Zuma Jnr’s lawyers to delay proceedings until his father arrived.

"It’s nine o’clock," prosecutor Yusuf Baba could be heard telling Duduzane’s lawyers. "Nine o’clock is nine o’clock. We must start".

As a result, the former president arrived at court while his son was exiting the building, followed by a huge media contingent. Duduzane’s appearance took less than seven minutes, and the case against him was postponed until August 23.

Edward Zuma and Duduzane’s lawyers later confirmed that Jacob Zuma had come to court to "show support" for his son, but remained in his car because he was too late to attend the hearing.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokeswoman Phindi Mjonondwane said the state could not delay court appearances for individuals not directly involved in them.

"We could not delay the court proceedings as all parties for the case were in court. Yes, the former president is entitled to support his son."

Mjonondwane said the state believed it had a "strong case" against Duduzane, who has been charged in connection with a 2014 collision between his Porsche and a minibus taxi. Phumzile Dube died in the crash. Jeanette Mashaba was severely injured and died weeks after the accident.

Neither woman’s family members were in court but they have told the NPA that they intend to attend Duduzane’s trial. Dube’s family attended almost every day of the inquest into her death, which ended in a ruling that Duduzane’s negligence had led to the crash that killed her.

The NPA, however, initially elected not to prosecute.

AfriForum said in April it would seek a private prosecution of Duduzane for culpable homicide, prompting the NPA to reverse its decision.

AfriForum said it was acting on behalf of Dube’s family, who former prosecutor Gerrie Nel said had been treated unfairly by the NPA. He said the state had failed to even inform Dube’s family that it had decided not to prosecute Duduzane.

AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel tried to address the media after Duduzane’s appearance, but was shouted down by members of Black First Land First. They said Kriel was a racist who had no right to get involved in "a matter between black families".