Expert: Zuma tapes could go public in court

2012-04-13 14:36

Bloemfontein - The so-called spy tapes that featured in a decision to drop criminal charges against President Jacob Zuma in 2009 might be aired publicly if they are presented in court, a legal expert said on Friday.

Northwest University law professor Tom Coetzee said if the Democratic Alliance decided to file a review application of the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma, the content of the tapes might be part of its submission.

"The party still needs to find enough grounds to bring a review from the documents to be handed to them by the NPA," he said.

On Thursday, the NPA announced that it would hand the DA a record of its decision not to prosecute Zuma.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said it would not challenge a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment in the Constitutional Court, but would follow the process set out in the SCA judgment.

Confidentiality agreements

The SCA upheld the DA’s attempt to gain access to the records and held that this record should consist of the documents and material relevant to the review.

These included papers which were before the then acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe when he made his decision.

The court decided that the record should exclude written representations made on behalf of Zuma and any consequent memoranda or reports prepared in response, or oral representations, if their production would breach confidentiality agreements.

Coetzee said nothing could stop the DA from releasing the contents of the tapes to the media, but that this would not help any application it made for review.

He said a review court, which would be a High Court, could decide after hearing the matter that no irregularities occurred with the NPA’s decision or the other way around.

If a court found against a review, the DA would be able to take the decision on appeal.

If the court found there were irregularities in the NPA’s 2009 decision, it would again be up to the NPA to decide whether to prosecute Zuma.

Never answered

Coetzee said if the tapes were to be part of the DA’s documents in the review application, filed in court, they would become public knowledge.

"It would become part of a public document."

Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos, in his blog Constitutionally Speaking, wrote that the documents, if made public, could be embarrassing to Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki.

He said it could remind South Africans that there was still a strong prima facie case of corruption against Zuma, a case which he had never answered despite claims at the time that he wanted to clear his name.

De Vos said it could be that the documents would also embarrass Mbeki and others who might have plotted against Zuma.

This was because reasons given for the dropping of the charges against Zuma centred on the alleged abuse of the process of manipulation inside the NPA on the timing of charges against Zuma.

On Friday, DA spokesperson James Selfe said the party expected the documents any time soon after the NPA asked for an extension on Thursday to finish the transcripts.

  • Shirley - 2012-04-13 14:46

    Could be,would be,should be but as per usual it wont! Nothing will come of this! Unfortunately in this case fortune favours the corrupt!

      Newsmonger - 2012-04-13 15:02

      you know I hope they pin the ba$tard...he is 70, medical parole or will be pardoned unfortunately I cannot see him setting a foot in prison although that is where his head should be resting at night not at his masions with his zoo of wives and kids.(just the zoo bit for you tsaballalalala)

      Sam - 2012-04-13 15:37

      @Newsmonger, whos the ba&tard , if you think is Zuma , you must be desperate, Zuma has nothing to do here, the case is about the ppl who meddled with the execution of the law, which was unconstitutional and against the rights of zuma, in this country you cannt abuse power to pursue your selfish interest, only white ppl during apartheid who have the same mentality like yours. The reason the tapes were secured it was meant for the security of the state nt to blind the society, so many ppl were implicated in those tapes, so if you think tapes are about zuma sorry read the par “never answered’

      Jannie - 2012-04-13 15:55

      @sam WTF?

      Shirley - 2012-04-13 16:42

      Leonardb1: I agree,the qualities of consience,humility and honesty dont exist in the accused.

      Luviwe - 2012-04-13 16:53

      Sam these are the tapes that were used as the basis for droping the charges against the president.

      Luviwe - 2012-04-13 17:07

      Leonard-even if they doctor those tapes that will be fine as that will make that 1999 decision baseless. That will be like shooting yourself in the foot. I believe they will have basis to get that decision reviewed hence it will not include those oral and written presentation from JZ.

  • IAnon - 2012-04-13 14:47

    Even if they did - what difference would it make? - and another thing, ZumZum and Beetroot are so thick-skinned they make a Rhino blush, nothing on this earth will ever embarrass them !

      Newsmonger - 2012-04-13 15:14


      Luviwe - 2012-04-13 16:55

      Expose them for what they are. Corruption is a huge problem in this country.

  • Ester - 2012-04-13 14:48

    Let the games begin.....

      David - 2012-04-13 14:52

      This will end up being another never ending story

      Bless Boswell - 2012-04-13 15:32

      But the cast is not as interesting!

  • E=MC2 - 2012-04-13 14:56

    can open, worms everywhere :-) Cant wait!!!

      Shirley - 2012-04-13 15:28

      I hope there are some early birds!

  • Scouter - 2012-04-13 15:03

    I can't see the DA letting go of this golden apple .... if they do then they are certainly not worth voting for, next time around.

      Luviwe - 2012-04-13 16:56

      They would be stupid if they did let it go. They had won the moral battle in my book.

  • Dennis - 2012-04-13 15:04

    And these are supposed to be our "leaders" !!!

  • Ian - 2012-04-13 15:27

    the party expected the documents any time soon after the NPA asked for an extension on Thursday "to finish the transcripts" !!!!?????? ummm?????

  • Mike - 2012-04-13 15:54

    Ayikho lento.ce we move foward pls!

      Luviwe - 2012-04-13 17:01

      Xa ubulungiswa bukhetha iphela emasini.(When you dont like justice, or others are above the law).

  • Jabulani - 2012-04-13 16:09

    I can't wait to see this movie. Hope it will be realeased soon.

      Luviwe - 2012-04-13 17:01

      It will take time, this is a titanic.

  • Gogs Lombard - 2012-04-13 16:22

    Why the decision not to appeal the SCA ruling? Alarm bells ringing at this end. Suddenly need more time to prepare documents for handover.

  • Luviwe - 2012-04-13 16:52

    I personally would like to hear what is on those tapes. In the interest of justice we need to know exactly what was said not to be told by these untrustworthy people who just drop a case on tapes, I believe had nothing to do with the case itself but about people's prefferences and opinions. Whether it embarasses who, to me that is immaterial.

  • david.lebethe - 2012-04-13 17:09

    My take of Zuma's decision not to challenge the SCA judgment is to embarass his predecessor more than else. While DA's legal team will have to dig deep to present a good review application and the contents of the tapes become known to public, however, it wouldn't affect Zuma much. It would instead give credence to Judge Nicholson's judgment that Zuma was part of a plot by Mbeki not to assume the Presidency and become the head of the country. Even if the court finally grant DA the review, the fact of the matter is that the bug stops with the NPA, which is full of Zuma's supporters as he will never see his final day in court. In short, it will reduce DA's efforts to political expediency and nothing else.

      Luviwe - 2012-04-13 17:23

      The court can force the NPA to procecute as it is the final abiter when there is a dispute.

  • Morama - 2012-04-13 17:32

    This would only put Mbheki as the bad man. My main worry is that one of the convictions given to Shaik was that Mr Zooormer had a corrupt relationship wih Shaik,so why only Shaik gets convicted not the other party? South Africa is the laughing stock of the world.Let this man (Zuma) go and clear his name as he used to say.Apart from that,expect nothing out of this here.

  • Balysteriousy - 2012-04-13 17:45

    We are headng 4 *Who's Who* Phase.

  • Gregory - 2012-04-13 18:50

    if made public, could be embarrassing to Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki....could be embarrassing , this corrupt rapist is a embarrassment to all South Africans.

  • Gregory - 2012-04-13 18:56

    Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos, in his blog Constitutionally Speaking, wrote that the documents, if made public, could be embarrassing to Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki....... \Could be embarrassing\ , Zuma is a embarrassment to all South Africans.

  • xozamandi - 2012-04-13 21:37

    okay, with all this noise of tapes, what is contain or the content of these tapes, anyone knows?

      Luviwe - 2012-04-13 22:44

      What we want to know as well.

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-04-14 07:40

    There is something HUGELY wrong in South Africa. Our politicians misbehave and act like nothing's wrong. They seem not to care that extremely dirty washing is being aired in public. Do they really not know that this is not acceptable? It's really hard to respect an individual when they openly say things that show us that they are not in touch with reality - "South Africa Is safe ..." twak - we all know it's not safe. How is it that these individuals are permitted to speak on behalf of the people? All that comes out is half truths and lies. Bring on the tapes - let them do their work well - before the next election.

  • Phakeme Pk Zungu - 2012-04-14 07:48

    @Sam don't be naive, I personally don't have a problem with President Zuma. However, these tapes have everything to do with him and what you have just said. It was the President that was charged with corruption and his charges were mysteriously dropped on the bases it was a plot to make him unsuccessful for the big job. The public has the right to know the content of those tapes that made the accused to go free because its all about the accused. I'm not DA but i refuse to be biased and choose one side. Let the truth come out if the man is NOT guilty. What's there to HIDE. We pray for a corrupt free ANC and the one that will deliver.

  • Jacqui - 2012-04-14 11:34

    No one is going to find anything discriminating in those papers. Those have gone through the shedder a long time ago.

  • Buti - 2012-04-14 15:05

    Where there's lot of money Gun is available and the one who pull the trigger is POLITICS. There's no life in this game. Let's wait & see what the outcome is going to be. Not so long Zuma will be silent that what Politic is all about.

  • wouter.monique - 2012-04-14 23:02

    I do not know much about politics, but I know what it means to be a leader. A leader leads by exsample. A leader joins the devide, gives hope to the hopeless and earns the trust of those he leads. Lets not worry about Zuma or Thabo, but what we leave behind for our children to build there future on. Integrity, purposeand a good foundation. We fight about our leaders making mistakes. But what are we doing to make South Africa a better country. After 18 years we still fight about the apartheid and wrong doings. But daily people are raped and murdered. Maybe we can help the party in charge (who so ever) by being responcable citezens of South Africa and making SA a beter world. Because we are SA. God bless SA

      Crracker - 2012-04-14 23:13

      And? What do you suggest I (and others) do right now? Or Monday? We don't run the country. If we do try to take matters in our own hands we will be quickly made history. This holier-than-thou and clever-me attitude some like you exhibit should best be kept to yourself. We are not all real-life Spider or Batmen.

  • serame.seleki.3 - 2012-10-29 11:55

    Its so unfair that courts are forced to ignore the evidence on the basis of political interference...i personaly think that EVIDENCE should rise above everything...Jz Still owes the public an explanation..

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