‘Spy tapes’ to go to retired judge

Crime & Courts

Bloemfontein - The National Prosecuting Authority has five days to release the Zuma ‘spy tapes’.

The Supreme Court of Appeal on Thursday dismissed President Jacob Zuma's application to prevent the release of the tapes.

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The application had been brought by the Democratic Alliance.

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

The SCA judgment ordered that the NPA deliver the documents to retired KwaZulu-Natal high court judge Noel Hurt within five days. The court ruled that Hurt had to mark on the documents the places containing Zuma's written or oral representations to the NPA.

The SCA held Hurt's ruling would be final and binding on the parties.

The judgment also provided for the eventuality of Hurt not being able to complete the work. The parties then had to agree on another independent and impartial person to replace him.

If no agreement could be reached the chairman of the General Council of the Bar would be asked to appoint such a person.

Zuma's legal team had contested the fraud and corruption charges which he faced with arms company Thint, through confidential representations submitted to the NPA in February 2009.

These included written and oral submissions, and recordings of conversations between the former heads of the Directorate of Special Operations, the now defunct Scorpions, Leonard McCarthy, and the National Prosecuting Authority's former head Bulelani Ngcuka Ä dubbed the “spy tapes”.

On April 6, 2009, shortly before a national election, then acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe announced that there had been “abuse of process” during the investigations, and they could not continue with the prosecution. Zuma, who had been elected president of the African National Congress at a tumultuous party conference in Polokwane in 2008, became president after the election in 2009.

The DA had previously applied for access to the tapes 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. -Sapa

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