Zuma’s lawyers to get spy tape transcripts

2012-06-30 18:31

The National Prosecuting Authority will let President Jacob Zuma’s legal team see full transcripts of the controversial “spy tapes” used to get Zuma off the hook on corruption charges – before it hands them over to the Democratic Alliance.

The DA earlier this year won a preliminary court order in the Supreme Court of Appeal compelling the NPA to file a so-called “reduced record” of information before acting prosecutions boss Mokotedi Mpshe when he decided to withdraw corruption charges against Zuma in 2009.

The appeals court ordered that the reduced record should include everything but confidential representations made by Zuma to the NPA at the time.

City Press can today reveal that Zuma’s legal team will have first sight of the transcripts of the ­spy tapes.

In a letter from the state attorneys to the DA’s lawyers on April 12, the NPA said it was “obliged to give an opportunity to Mr Zuma’s legal team to consider whether there is any objection to disclosure of (the) transcripts”.

This was despite the fact that the NPA obtained the tapes independently of Zuma’s legal team, who would not allow it to make copies of the tapes.

Willie Hofmeyr, a deputy national director of public prosecutions, was forced to approach the National Intelligence Agency to declassify the tapes so the NPA could transcribe them.

Mthunzi Mhaga, spokesperson for the NPA, stressed that the court’s order excluded any report, memorandum or oral representation if “the production thereof would breach any confidentiality attaching to (Zuma’s) representations”.

“Our legal advice is that the effect of the court order is that Zuma’s legal team must be given the opportunity to scrutinise the full record that the NPA intends to file”, said Mhaga.

When Mpshe announced his decision to drop charges in 2009, he released only the parts of the transcriptions which bore testimony to interference in the prosecution of Zuma.

The DA was likely to return to court to compel the NPA to file the record, which was now overdue by more than two months. 

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