Long-awaited spy tapes judgment expected

Pretoria  The High Court in Pretoria will on Friday hand down judgment in the Democratic Alliance's bid to have the decision to drop corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma reviewed.

Judgment in the matter was reserved last month.

However, the matter is not expected to end here.

According to chairperson of the DA's federal executive, James Selfe, whoever "loses this round" was likely to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) and in due course, the Constitutional Court.

"It has taken seven years to get to this point in the litigation, and the finalisation of any appeals process will no doubt take a few years more thereafter.

"But ultimately the time and the cost is necessary to remind the president, the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) and South Africa as a whole, that every decision to prosecute or not to prosecute must be made without fear or favour, and that even number one is not above the law," he said.

Conspiracy to influence

In September 2008, Pietermaritzburg High Court judge, Chris Nicholson, dismissed criminal charges against Zuma, citing a political conspiracy to influence the case by former president, Thabo Mbeki, and others.

Nicholson's decision was taken to the SCA, and overturned. Zuma subsequently appealed this at the Constitutional Court, setting in motion a direct approach to the NPA to make written and oral representations on why the case should be dropped.

Explaining the NPA's decision to drop the charges, former national director of public prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe, on April 6 2009, cited what became known as the "spy tapes" as the reason .

They are recordings of telephone conversations between then Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former National Prosecuting Authority head Bulelani Ngcuka, and apparently show political interference in the decision to charge Zuma.

On April 7 2009, the charges against Zuma were withdrawn in the High Court in Durban.

Zuma was sworn in for his first term as president in May that year, following general elections.

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