High court to determine spy tapes timeline

On Monday, the high court in Pretoria is expected to determine a timeline to hear the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) application to review the dropping of charges against Jacob Zuma.

Last month, DA said the court would hear its application on March 16 unopposed, however, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it was opposing the matter. 

This meant that case had to be removed from the unopposed court roll and set down for an agreed date on the court roll, NPA spokesperson Velekhaya Mgobhozi said at the time. 

The DA was handed the spy tapes last year after the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the NPA had to comply with a previous order 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.

Content of spy tapes
The tapes, containing recorded phone conversations, allegedly reveal collusion between the former head 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. Former president Thabo Mbeki had been a contender for another term. The charges were dropped shortly before Zuma was sworn in as president in 2009. 

The then acting national director of public prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe, said the tapes showed there was a political conspiracy against Zuma and so the case against him could not continue. The Sunday Times published a compilation of transcripts from the so-called spy tapes after the newspaper was granted access to them by the high court in Pretoria. 

Final dates were set in the high court for court papers to be filed.

Judge Neil Tuchten granted an order in terms of an agreement reached between the DA and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), giving the NPA until the end of the month to file opposing papers in the application. 

Zuma was given until April 15 to file his opposing affidavit, and heads of argument have to be filed by June 10, whereafter the deputy judge president would be approached for a court date. 

Tuchten did not grant an order allowing the parties to apply for an expedited date for the application to be heard. – Sapa

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