Court erred in spy tapes ruling - Zuma

2013-08-23 14:31
President Jacob Zuma (Picture: AFP)

President Jacob Zuma (Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has applied for leave to appeal against a court decision forcing the NPA to hand over the so-called spy tapes.

In court papers seen by Sapa on Friday, and dated on Wednesday, Zuma's lawyers listed several grounds for appeal against the ruling by the North Gauteng High Court.

One was that the court erred in not finding that the transcripts of the tapes were part of Zuma's representation and therefore did not have to be produced.

"The court [also] erred... in holding that the third respondent [Zuma] was obliged to factually demonstrate that he had an interest in the confidentiality of the 'transcripts'."

The application says the appeal could be heard by either a full bench of the high court or the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

The tape transcripts and other documents relate to a National Prosecuting Authority decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma.

NPA ordered to hand over tapes

Last Friday, the court ordered acting national director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba to lodge a copy of the tapes with the registrar of the court within five days.

The ruling by Judge Rami Mathopo followed an application by the Democratic Alliance.

In April 2009, then acting NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe withdrew the fraud and corruption charges against Zuma.

In March last year the SCA ordered the NPA to lodge the record with the registrar of the high court. The NPA refused to do so on the basis that it contained confidential representations by Zuma.

Mathopo ordered Jiba to comply with the SCA order and ruled that the record to be lodged include a copy and transcripts of the electronic recordings Mpshe referred to in his announcement that charges were being withdrawn.

The appeal papers stated that the court erred in accepting that the transcripts were not confidential and that the production of any item which was part of the representations was compelled by the order of the SCA.

"The court erred in holding that... [Zuma] was obliged to make out a case that the representations made on his behalf were confidential -- it was common cause before the SCA and this court that... the representations were not subject to compelled disclosure."

It also erred by holding that minutes, which would reveal the content of the representation, were not excluded from the record, but required a legal claim of confidentiality to be established by Zuma.

Time to stop delaying - DA

The DA said on Friday the arguments by Zuma's legal team were "unlikely to hold water".

"The application for leave to appeal argues that the court 'erred' on basically every point in the judgment," DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe said.

"It is time to stop delaying and just comply with the courts. President Zuma’s legal team is delaying the inevitable and at each stage at the cost of the taxpayer."

He said the DA had submitted parliamentary questions to determine the exact cost to the public "of President Zuma trying to hide the truth from South Africa".

"The DA will oppose this application vigorously, because South Africa deserves to know, once and for all, whether the decision by the NPA to drop the charges against President Jacob Zuma was politically motivated," he said.

"All we can say to President Zuma’s legal team is bring it on."

Read more on:    npa  |  jacob zuma  |  zuma spy tapes

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