South Africa Ex-President’s Car Hit By Drunk Driver


South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma has been involved in a car crash but was unhurt.

A drunk driver collided with his “official armoured state vehicle” on Thursday evening, police have said.

But a leading member of his uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party alleged that he had been targeted.

He has been suspended by the governing African National Congress (ANC) and is campaigning for the MK ahead of May’s general election.

Mr Zuma was in the car, along with his official protection team, when it was hit on a road in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal at about 18:40 local time (16:40 GMT) on Thursday.

“No one was injured, including members of the Presidential Protection Services. The former president was evacuated and taken to his residence,” a brief police statement said.

A 51-year-old man has been arrested for “drunken driving as well as… reckless and negligent driving”.

The MK party’s head of elections, Musa Mkhize, has told public broadcaster SABC that he thought the crash was deliberate rather than an accident.

“Unfortunately, we have been waiting for it to happen. The president was warned that before the day of the elections, he would be lying in the hospital. Thanks to the Presidential Protection Unit members who managed to keep the president safe,” he is quoted by News24 as saying.

Mr Zuma, 81, served as president from 2009 until 2018 when he had to step down because of corruption allegations, which he denied. As a former president, he is entitled to have an official protection team.

The crash happened on the same day that the country’s electoral commission said that Mr Zuma was barred from running as a candidate in the 29 May general election. It is believed that his 15-month jail sentence given in 2021 for contempt of court constitutionally excludes him.

Some opinion polls have suggested that the ANC’s share of the vote could fall below 50% for the first time in 30 years.

The MK, which was only recently formed, could dent some of its support, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal where Mr Zuma is very influential.