Zuma to appeal spy tapes order

2013-08-22 19:15

President Jacob Zuma’s legal team will appeal a court order which would have compelled the NPA to hand over the so-called spy tapes which got the president off the hook on corruption charges.

This is the latest twist in the DA’s four-year court battle to have Mokotedi Mpshe’s decision to drop fraud and corruption charges against Zuma overturned.

Zuma’s legal team this evening filed an application for leave to appeal in the North Gauteng High Court.

This was after Judge Rammaka Mathopo on Friday ruled that the NPA had five days to file copies of the tapes, pursuant to a decision of the Supreme Court (SCA) of Appeal last year.

Zuma’s lawyers have argued that the spy tapes, interceptions of telephone conversations between former NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka and Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy, were “part and parcel” of confidential representations made by Zuma to the NPA. These confidential representations are protected and cannot be disclosed.

The tapes were brought to the attention of the NPA by Zuma lawyer Michael Hulley.

The NPA then independently obtained declassified copies from the then National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

But last week Mathopo rejected Zuma’s argument, ruling that “(the NPA) has a duty to explain to the citizenry why and how (acting prosecutions head Mokotedi) Mpshe arrived at the decision to quash the criminal charges against (Zuma) in pursuance of its constitutional obligations.”

Mathopo ordered the NPA to file copies of the tapes within five days and also to make internal documentation of the NPA relating to the decision available to the DA’s lawyers on a confidential basis.

In the notice of leave to appeal, however, Zuma’s lawyers argue that the court was wrong to find the that the transcripts “in question were not part of the representations made by (Zuma)”.

They also argue that the court was mistaken in finding that Zuma had to provide evidence that he had an interest in the confidentiality of the tapes and to similarly prove the tapes were part of his representations.

The appeal means that the effect of Mathopo’s judgment, which is that the NPA must file the spy tapes and transcripts, is suspended pending the appeal.

The DA has indicated that it would oppose the application for leave to appeal.

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