DA pursue case for release of spy tapes and all papers

2014-08-04 00:00

THE National Prosecuting Authority was duty-bound to reveal the so-called spy tapes “and all other documentation” that informed its decision to drop charges against President Jacob Zuma five years ago, according to the Democratic Alliance.

Responding to weekend reports that raise questions about the authenticity, origin and legality of the spy tapes, which led to the NPA dropping charges of fraud and corruption against Zuma, the DA’s James Selfe said that the NPA needed to show that its decision was “rational and in the interests of justice”.

The only way it could prove this was to provide all the relevant information — not just the tapes but memos and legal opinions — which led to the decision to discontinue the prosecution against Zuma. This was regardless of whether “there was one set of tapes or two, or whether they are authentic or not”, said Selfe.

The DA’s protracted battle to expose the secret recordings will be revisited in the Supreme Court of Appeal on August 15, where Zuma is appealing an earlier ruling in the North Gauteng High Court that the tapes should be released.

Selfe was responding to former spy boss Mulangi Mphego’s bombshell claim that the spy tapes that then acting National director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe used as a reason to drop the case against Zuma, were not the work of Crime Intelligence. Mphego said that the tapes Mpshe had used could not be the same ones that he, as Crime Intelligence head, had listened to.

“I listened to all the tapes. I was surprised when I saw Mpshe on TV stating the reasons for dropping the charges,” Mphego told the Sunday Independent.

Mphego’s claim added weight to the DA’s argument for the release of the tapes, said Selfe.

“The DA has long held that the decision to drop the charges against Zuma must have been rational, on the basis of sound evidence; or the decision must be set aside. If the tapes are not genuine, or did not emanate from the correct spy agencies, they would be inadmissible in support of Mpshe’s decision,” said Selfe.

Mpshe’s decision to drop charges against Zuma took place eight years into the legal case and two weeks before the elections, paving the way for Zuma to become president. Mpshe referred to telephone recordings between former NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka and former head of the Directorate of Special Operations Leonard McCarthy in which they discussed the timing of recharging Zuma.

Responding to Mphego’s claim at the weekend, Mpshe stood by his decision to clear Zuma. He told Sunday Independent that he had obtained the tapes from the National Intelligence Agency. “How do I know we [Mpshe and Mphego] listened to the same tapes? … I listened to the tapes and I left them there.”

NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube said yesterday that he could not comment ahead of the SCA case.

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