Helen Zille says she holds the culmination of six court cases in five years in a bag, and President Jacob Zuma says he is happy with the process.
The so-called spy tapes and other documents used to justify dropping fraud and corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma were handed to Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille on Thursday.
As she walked out of the high court in Pretoria, Zille held the bag with the words “tamper evident security bag” printed on it above her head. Zille told reporters that the bag contained transcripts of recordings and a memory stick.
“A forensic computing expert will take the bag from me,” she said. “I have only had this in my possession in the presence [of the expert].” The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) handed the material to the court earlier on Thursday, before it was given to the DA.
This followed a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling last week that the NPA had five days to comply with a previous order in an application brought by the DA to release the tapes. Zuma had opposed the move.
The recordings, internal memoranda, reports and minutes of meetings dealing with the contents of the recordings had to be provided. The tapes, containing recorded phone conversations, allegedly reveal collusion between the former heads of the Directorate of Special Operations – the now defunct Scorpions – Leonard McCarthy, and the NPA’s former head Bulelani Ngcuka, to manipulate the prosecutorial process before the ANC’s Polokwane conference in 2007. Zuma was elected ANC president at the conference.
At the time, acting NPA boss Mokotedi Mpshe said they showed there was a political conspiracy against Zuma and so the case against him could not continue.
The charges were dropped shortly before Zuma was sworn in as president in 2009. Zille said her party would use the evidence in its application to have the decision to drop charges against Zuma reviewed. “It’s a very, very important package I hold in my hands. It’s the culmination of six court cases in five years.”
Zuma welcomed the release of the documentation.
“The president is happy with the process thus far,” his spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement.
Zille had a message for Zuma following the hand over: “President Zuma was very deeply in the struggle for democracy and this is what he struggled for, accountability. “No matter how long it takes or how much it costs, we will fight to make sure our state institutions remain independent,” she said. – Sapa