CAPE TOWN — A politically influential son of former President Jacob Zuma of South Africa was cleared on Friday of culpable homicide in a case that has come to be seen as a proxy for factional battles within the governing African National Congress.
The charges against the son, Duduzane Zuma, also included negligent and reckless driving in connection with the accident in February 2014, when he crashed his sports car — a Porsche 911 Turbo — into a minibus in Johannesburg. A commuter in the other vehicle died, and several other people were injured.
Delivering his judgment in a Johannesburg courtroom, Magistrate Tebogo Thupaatlase said that the state had failed to prove Mr. Zuma’s guilt in the trial.
Defense lawyers contended that there was no evidence of negligent driving by Mr. Zuma and said the Porsche had hydroplaned on a puddle, an outcome they argued was beyond the driver’s control.
The judge seemed to agree, saying that “a reasonable driver would not have been able to see it,” referring to the puddle.