Spy tapes justify a review of Zuma charges - DA

The DA says that although they cannot reveal the contents of the spy tapes, there is enough information to go ahead with a review application on the decision to drop President Zuma's charges. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

The DA says that although they cannot reveal the contents of the spy tapes, there is enough information to go ahead with a review application on the decision to drop President Zuma's charges. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has said the so-called spy tapes, which it obtained from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) last week, contains enough information to proceed with a review application against the decision to drop fraud and corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma.

The DA obtained the tapes after a lengthy court battle last Thursday. The tapes are believed to form part of the record on which former prosecutions boss, Mokotedi Mphse, based his 2009 decision to drop charges against Zuma.

Zille has repeatedly said she cannot reveal the tapes’ contents, despite it being in the public interest, because a recent, unrelated court judgment prevents her from doing so.

On Monday, “without revealing the contents,” Zille said: “I am satisfied that the spy tapes provide sufficient evidence to continue our review application of the decision, by the then acting national director of public prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe, to withdraw the charges against President Zuma.”

She identified several issues to be canvassed in any possible future case. These include who – leading up to the ANC’s Polokwane conference – ordered the surveillance of then national director of public prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, and the head of the now defunct Scorpions, Leonard McCarthy, and why.

It would need to be determined if this interception was legal, and the case would need to examine how these recordings got into the hands of Zuma’s legal team.

Zille added: “If some conversations reveal a desire to use ‘timing’ to prevent Jacob Zuma from becoming the ANC leader in Polokwane in December 2007, and if this strategy failed, is the point still material?”

She added that these issues would probably have been heavily debated by NPA investigators at the time.

“The minutes and summaries of these discussions are contained in the documents that form the ‘record of decision’, which I have not yet seen.”

“The spy tapes saga has now moved on to the obvious question: What do the tapes reveal? And what do the rest of the documents that constitute the ‘record of decision’ contain?”

“Do they provide evidence that a political conspiracy lay behind the charges against Jacob Zuma on over 700 counts of corruption, money laundering, fraud and racketeering?”

“Do they reveal sufficient grounds for withdrawing the charges in 2009, so that Zuma could become president? Or could they support the re-instatement of charges against the president?”

Dubious support
The Mail & Guardian reported in 2013 that there was evidence to suggest that Mpshe’s decision did not have the support of the team of prosecutors working on Zuma’s case. 

“… While I believe that it would be in the public interest to release these records, the DA’s legal team has advised that the ‘discovered documents’, including the recordings, may only be revealed during the court proceedings for which they were required,” Zille said.

She said anyone wanting to obtain this information before then would have to approach the Supreme Court of Appeal,“whose recent judgment finally gave us access to these records”.

“We will only have access to them after retired Judge Noel Hurt has reviewed them all, and removed those representations made by Jacob Zuma that are ‘privileged’ for use in his defence.”

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