Zuma jogger to sue minister

THE Cape Town man who was arrested for gesturing at President Jacob Zuma's blue-light convoy is pressing ahead with a damages claim against the police, his lawyer said yesterday..

THE Cape Town man who was arrested for gesturing at President Jacob Zuma's blue-light convoy is pressing ahead with a damages claim against the police, his lawyer said yesterday..

"This claim will be instituted in the high court and counsel has been briefed accordingly," said Port Elizabeth attorney Neil O'Brien.

He also said the student, Chumani Maxwele, had been told by the police to make a written apology to Zuma, and had not done so voluntarily.

Maxwele was arrested on February 10 by members of Zuma's VIP protection unit after gesturing - according to police with his middle finger - at the convoy as it passed him on a Cape Town road. He was held overnight and released without being charged.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa later released a sworn statement in which Maxwele apologised to Zuma and the police.

But O'Brien said according to Maxwele, the "apology" was written on the instruction of a member of the police at the Mowbray police station.

This was while he was still in detention, and after he had been denied the opportunity to contact an attorney.

"Our client was told by the said member to write anything that would justify his release, and was promised that he would then be detained only for a few more hours," O'Brien said.

"Our client was further told to insert at the end of the letter the following apology to facilitate his release: 'Mr President JG Zuma, without any conditions attached, I apologise to you as well as to the Republic of South Africa'."

O'Brien said for a charge of crimen injuria against Zuma to stand, Zuma himself would have to have been aware of and offended by Maxwele's behaviour.

"In light of the fact that the president has denied any knowledge of the incident, there can be no question of any impairment of his dignity." Maxwele denied having criminal "records" for common assault and riotous behavior. - Sapa

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