DA calls spy tapes court ruling 'a victory for democracy'

President Jacob Zuma. (AFP)

President Jacob Zuma. (AFP)

"This is a victory for democracy, for accountability, and for the Constitution," Democratic Alliance federal executive chairperson James Selfe said on Friday.

"[We] will now consult with our lawyers at the soonest available opportunity to initiate the substantive review into the decision by the NPA to drop charges against President [Jacob] Zuma."

The North Gauteng High Court ordered acting national director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba to lodge a copy of the tapes with the registrar of the court within the next five days. The ruling by Judge Rami Mathopo followed an application by the DA.

The party wanted to overturn a 2009 decision by then acting National Prosecuting Authority head Mokotedi Mpshe to withdraw fraud and corruption charges against Zuma.

Selfe said despite attempts over the past four years by Zuma's legal team to delay and deny access to the documents, justice had prevailed. "The transcripts and memoranda will pave the way for the DA to ask the court to determine whether the decision to drop the charges was rational and therefore lawful," he said.

"South Africa has the right to know if there was a case against President Zuma and if the decision by the NPA to drop the charges was politically motivated.
The NPA will now have to answer for this decision."

Memoranda
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in March last year ordered the NPA to lodge the record with the registrar of the high court, but the NPA refused to do so on the basis that it contained confidential representations by Zuma.

Mathopo ordered Jiba to comply with the SCA order and ruled that the record to be lodged include a copy and transcript of the electronic recordings Mpshe referred to in his announcement to withdraw charges against Zuma.

The record had to include any internal memoranda, reports or minutes of meetings dealing with the contents of the recordings or the transcript itself, insofar as these documents did not breach the confidentiality of Zuma's written or oral representations.

With regard to the memoranda, minutes, and notes of meetings, Jiba was ordered to deliver copies to the DA's Cape Town attorney within the next five days. Those parts of the document she considered confidential had to be marked.

The DA's attorney was ordered not to disclose to any other party, including to the DA, any part of the document which Jiba said was confidential.

Should the DA dispute any claim to confidentiality and should the parties be unable to resolve the dispute, the DA could apply to a judge for a ruling on the issue.

The NPA and Zuma were ordered to pay the costs of the DA's application. – Sapa

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