National

Zuma misses deadline for affidavit on spy tapes

Niren Tolsi

Lawyers acting for President Jacob Zuma have failed to meet the deadline to file court papers in response to the DA's request for the spy tapes.

President Jacob Zuma. (Sapa)

Both the presidency and lawyers acting for President Jacob Zuma failed to meet a Wednesday afternoon deadline to file court papers in response to the Democratic Alliance's long-running legal battle for the record behind the National Prosecuting Authority's 2009 decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma.

According to the DA's James Selfe, both Zuma's office and his lawyer, Michael Hulley, had failed to meet the 4.30pm deadline on Wednesday and the party had "rewritten to [Zuma and Hulley] saying we are reserving our rights in the matter and in the absence of court papers we intend going to court without them".

The DA is mounting a legal challenge to have the decision by then acting national director of public prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe, to drop corruption charges against Zuma – then a private citizen – just before the 2009 general elections, reviewed.

The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in March this year that the NPA should provide the DA with a "reduced record" of the information Mpshe possessed, when he dropped the charges against Zuma. Excluded from that record were submissions made by Zuma himself to the prosecuting authority.

The record was to have been handed over two weeks after the judgment was handed down – but this has still not happened.

Mpshe had made his decision after considering evidence that included taped conversations between former Scorpions' boss Leonard McCarthy and then-NDPP Bulelani Ngcuka about the timing of the reinstitution of corruption charges against Zuma in 2007, just after he had won the presidency of the ANC at its national elective conference in Polokwane.

The tapes were used by Mpshe to suggest political interference in the case against Zuma.

The prosecuting authority last week stated in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court of Appeal that the record was with Hulley, and it therefore was unable to hand it over.

Selfe said he "suspected the failure to lodge the papers was deliberate".

The DA's application for the record is set to return to the supreme court, although no date has been set down as yet.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj was not available for comment on Wednesday afternoon.

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