Zuma’s legal team to appeal spy tapes ruling

2013-08-23 00:00

CAPE TOWN — President Jacob Zuma’s legal representatives informed the DA yesterday afternoon they would appeal against a ruling that the so-called spy tapes must be handed to the DA.

The North Gauteng High Court had earlier ordered the acting national director of public prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, to lodge a transcript of the tapes, which could explain why charges of fraud and money-laundering against Zuma were dropped, with the registrar of the court today.

Zuma’s legal team has, as expected, instead waited until the last possible moment to lodge an application for leave to appeal against the ruling.

This is in keeping with Zuma’s legal team’s declared tactic to follow a so-called Stalingrad approach to stall any attempt to get the president his much discussed “day in court”.

The Stalingrad approach refers to the Russian defence of the city during the German invasion in World War 2. Russian soldiers did not give up any house, street or inch of land without a fight, even when defeat was certain.

The strategy aimed to exhaust the enemy and in Zuma’s case his legal team is using every possible delaying tactic — and public taxes — to exhaust his opponents and keep the president out of court.

James Selfe, chair of the DA’s federal executive, yesterday said people must remember the documents the DA had requested concerned 700 corruption-related charges against Zuma, which were all dropped just ahead of the 2009 elections. At that stage the appeal court had already ruled the tapes must be handed to the DA.

He said the grounds for Zuma’s latest application were very shaky. “It is actually unclear to us if there are any grounds,” Selfe added.

“It is clearly just another delaying tactic to keep the facts out of the public eye, which is paid for by the taxpayer.”

He said the DA would oppose this application with everything at its disposal to find out whether the National Prosecution Authority’s decision to drop the charges was politically motivated or not.

“We will continue to fight to the bitter end no matter the cost, because this concerns two core principles: first, that no one, not even the president, is above the law; and secondly that the prosecution authority must act impartially.”

Selfe said the future of South Africa’s constitutional democracy relied on these two principles.

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