DA 'encouraged' by spy tapes ruling

The NPA has been ordered to hand over the so-called Zuma spy tapes, and the DA said it would be investigating their authenticity. (Clarissa Sosin, M&G)

The NPA has been ordered to hand over the so-called Zuma spy tapes, and the DA said it would be investigating their authenticity. (Clarissa Sosin, M&G)

The ANC said on Thursday it noted the Supreme Court of Appeal’s order that the so-called Zuma spy tapes be released, after President Jacob Zuma’s appeal to keep the tapes off the record was dismissed.

“We trust that today’s [Thursday’s] outcome will bring the matter closer to finality,” ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.

The court ruled that within five days, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had to comply with a previous order, in an application brought by the Democratic Alliance (DA), to release the tapes.

The actual recordings, internal memoranda, reports and minutes of meetings dealing with the contents of the recordings had to be provided.

Conversations on the recordings were cited as a reason to drop fraud and corruption charges against Zuma, shortly before he was sworn in as president in 2009.

The tapes allegedly reveal collusion between the former head of 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 the tapes showed there was a political conspiracy against Zuma and so the case could not continue.

The DA applied for access to the recordings and despite winning previous court cases could not obtain them.

Zuma’s legal team had argued in the latest application that the DA would use them against him for political gain.

Authenticity to be ‘thoroughly reviewed’
DA leader Helen Zille said the tapes and the decision to drop the charges against Zuma would be thoroughly reviewed.

“We will be analysing those tapes very carefully and cross-checking them to make sure as far as possible that they are authentic,” she said in Bloemfontein after the appeal court ordered the release of the recordings.

“We are now reaching the end ... in this matter.
Now that we have these records we will proceed with the review of the NPA’s decision to drop the charges against Jacob Zuma.”

She said Zuma and his “network” had hijacked the South African judiciary, and the SCA’s decision was a victory for the country’s constitutional democracy.

“We are all equal before the law. None of us is above the law. The court systems are being hijacked by politicians like Zuma and his network ... If anybody is suspected of a crime and if there is a case to be made, that person must have his day in court, whether that person is a president or a pauper.”

‘Give us the tapes’
She said the court’s decision was encouraging.

“Today the courts, as the ultimate guardian of our democracy, have acted to stop the capture of another institution, the National Prosecuting Authority, by the president and his clique inside the ANC,” she said.

“They must know that their actions are subject to review by the courts and that although the wheels of justice grind slowly they still grind exceeding fine [sic].”

The crowd listening to Zille’s statement chanted, “Give us the tapes”.

“Today we can feel reassured that the institutions tasked to protect our democracy are very much alive and well. As long as we have an independent judiciary that is prepared to hand down court orders such as this one today, we are still standing and we are still fighting,” said Zille. – Sapa

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