DA demands access to Zuma tapes report

2011-01-24 13:45

The DA will tomorrow launch a formal application for access to a

secret report on how spy tapes were passed on to lawyers defending President

Jacob Zuma against criminal charges, clearing his way to the presidency.

Democratic Alliance chief whip Ian Davidson said he planned to

invoke the Promotion of Access to Information Act to obtain a copy of the report

by the Inspector General for Intelligence, after it emerged it would not be

released.

The decision not to disclose meant the nation would remain in the

dark on how illegally-taped phone conversations came into the possession of

Michael Hulley, Zuma’s attorney, arguably changing the course of South African

history.

The emergence of the tapes prompted the National Prosecuting

Authority (NPA) to withdraw fraud and corruption charges against Zuma on the eve

of national elections, on the basis that selectively released extracts from the

tapes hinted at political meddling, which compromised the case against the ANC

leader.

“We as the public have never been privy to knowing precisely why

the corruption charges against President Zuma were dropped,” Davidson

said.

“The fact that the inspector general and Parliament’s joint

standing committee on intelligence have chosen not to make this report public is

a sad reflection on the state of our democracy. Information that is in the

public interest has an unfortunate tendency to be suppressed, more in the

interests of protecting powerful individuals instead of legitimate threats to

our national security.”

He said it the very existence of the tapes pointed to “the

existence of a state within a state” and the abuse of mechanisms designed to

protect South African citizens to promote the agenda of private

individuals.

Information such as that surrounding Zuma’s case should only be

withheld if it were to compromise national security.

“There are no such factors at play in this case,” he said.

“In fact, the very principle of full accountability from the

highest levels of government downwards acts as a motivating force to release

this report.”

The inspector general’s report was presented to the committee last

year. Committee chairperson Cecil Burgess has said it has completed its work on

the report and saw no need to release it.

The Cape Times reported today that a source who had seen the report

said it had found the police’s criminal intelligence division responsible for

leaking at least one set of the recordings to Zuma’s legal team.

However, the inspector general stopped short of finding any

individuals guilty of wrongdoing.

The tapes contained intercepted phone conversations between former

NPA chief Bulelani Ngcuka and the head of the now defunct Scorpions, Leonard

McCarthy.


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