Lifestyle & Belief

South Africa man convicted of assault for spilling drink on President Zuma


South African President Jacob Zuma addresses a press conference in Durban on September 26, 2010 at the end of the African National Congress (ANC) meeting. A South African man has been convicted of assault by spilling his drink on Zuma at a horse racing event in Durban.



A South African man has been found guilty of assault for spilling a drink on President Jacob Zuma.

Daryl Peense, 31, was arrested after spilling his glass of whisky and water on Zuma at a horse racing event in the city of Durban last July.

Peense, a betting agent who said he was drunk at the time, admitted that “a small quantity of whisky and water" spilled accidentally when people pushed against him to get a better view of Zuma.

But one of Zuma’s bodyguards insisted the act was deliberate and told the court he saw Peense pour a drink from a balcony onto the president’s entourage as he attended the Durban July horse race.

None of the spilled drink touched Zuma because another bodyguard protected him, the South African Press Association reports.

A magistrate’s court convicted Peense of assault by spilling a drink on Zuma, and he will be sentenced in September.

“I’m shocked by the ruling, it’s like a big puzzle,” Peense told South Africa’s News24 after his conviction.

Magistrate Gugu Mphikeleli wanted to keep Peense in custody, but later agreed to extend Peense’s R500 ($75) bail.

In another incident last year, police briefly detained Chumani Maxwele, a student from Cape Town, for allegedly waving his middle finger at Zuma's motorcade.

South Africa's Human Rights Commission found that Zuma’s bodyguards had violated Maxwele’s right to privacy and dignity, and ordered the police minister to apologize to him.

(More South Africa news from GlobalPost: Fraud investigators slam country's top police chief)

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