‘Zuma spy tapes were legitimate’

2011-11-05 19:01

The so-called “Zuma spy tapes” that ended President Jacob Zuma’s corruption case were obtained “legitimately and lawfully”.

This was according to Cecil Burgess, the chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI), on Friday after he was questioned about the role of Zuma’s new legal adviser Michael Hulley in obtaining these tapes.

Hulley, a Durban-based attorney with his own law practice, was ­appointed as a part-time legal adviser to the Presidency this week.

He is also Zuma’s personal lawyer who had represented him in his corruption and rape cases.

Hulley has never revealed who gave him the tapes that ultimately led to charges against Zuma being dropped.

It has been suggested on a number of occasions that the police crime intelligence unit handed the tapes to Hulley.

For the first time, through Burgess, it has now been claimed that calls between former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and prosecutions boss Bulelani Ngcuka were intercepted legally.

Burgess knows this because of a presentation by the former inspector-general of intelligence, Zolile Ngcakani, to the JSCI.

Ngcakani presented his findings on the Zuma tapes to the standing committee last year.

Burgess said the JSCI was satisfied with the report and did not find it necessary to intervene.

Hulley’s appointment was severely criticised by the trade unions representing 5 300 mine workers who lost everything when Aurora, the mining company of which Hulley is a director, was placed under final liquidation on October 4.

A closed insolvency hearing is currently being conducted by the Master of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

Last Friday, the portfolio committee on mineral resources supported calls for the directors of ­Aurora, including Hulley, to be criminally prosecuted.

Gideon du Plessis, the general secretary of trade union Solidarity, wrote in a letter to Zuma on Friday that Hulley’s appointment sends out the message that “those who enrich themselves and exploit workers are rewarded.”

Du Plessis told City Press that Hulley is also facing another investigation regarding Aurora’s “reverse listing” on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

“Mr Hulley seems to have an air of untouchability. He ignored all laws in the Aurora case and as a lawyer he has no respect for the rule of law.
“Now he is appointed to the highest level,” Du Plessis said.

Constitutional law professor Pierre de Vos said Hulley’s appointment raises serious political and criminal questions.

“You have to ask whether it was wise for Zuma to appoint him. It does not seem wise,” De Vos said.

Mac Maharaj, Zuma’s spokesperson, said the president would not be responding to questions about Hulley’s appointment.

Hulley did not respond to requests for comment.

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