Warning over release of Zuma spy tapes

JOHANNESBURG - The court ruling compelling the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to release the controversial spy tapes into President Jacob Zuma’s alleged corruption could plunge the country into “constitutional, political and moral crisis”, analysts have warned.

On Friday, Judge Rammaka Mathopo of the Pretoria High Court ordered the NPA to comply with last year’s judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal and handover the electronic version of the transcripts of the tapes within five days.

The tapes are recordings of conversations between the head of the now-defunct the Scorpions, Leonard McCarthy, and former national director of Public Prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka.

In 2009, the former acting head of the NPA, Mokotedi Mpshe, used the tapes as the basis for dropping about 700 charges — ranging from corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering — against Zuma.

Handing over the tapes would pave the way for the DA to launch a judicial review of Mpshe’s decision.

DA leader Helen Zille said on Sunday that the ruling showed no one was above the law.

“The outcome of the case will “determine whether the politically powerful… can manipulate the institutions of democracy for their own interests or whether the (courts) have the strength and independence to hold us, even the president, to account.”

As the DA celebrated its court victory, political analysts warned that the ruling had far-reaching implications for Zuma as he might, in all likelihood, face prosecution.

The director at the Institute for Accountability, Paul Hoffman, said Friday’s ruling indicated that the decision to drop charges against Zuma was “compromised and contaminated”.

“There’s no excuse not to prosecute. It’s not practically feasible for Jacob Zuma to be the head of the executive and to continue running the country from the dock of a criminal trial while facing about 700 charges. The trouble about pleading not guilty is that it will take a considerable time attending court.”

Should a review be granted, Hoffman said Zuma might have difficulty proving his innocence as his alleged corrupter, Schabir Shaik, had already been convicted.

“All the judges from the high court, Supreme Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court were satisfied when he was convicted. The findings against the man who was accused of corrupting him will be troublesome for those defending Zuma.”

It was not clear if the NPA intended to appeal against the ruling, but its spokesperson, Bulelwa Makeke, was quoted as saying that she would know this week if they would.

Zille said that the DA expected Zuma’s lawyers to find “yet another way to drag this case … for another decade”.

Political analyst Lesiba Teffo said the ruling seemed to show that Mpshe had succumbed to political pressure when he dropped the charges.

“If there should be a basis for review and the court found that Zuma should answer in court, then we may face a constitutional, political and moral crisis.”

Teffo said the ANC, Zuma and his government had “suffered in the court of public opinion” by trying to fight against the release of the tapes.


Comments (13)

Why now ahead of election is he being punished for his role in Zimbabwe politics

inda - 20 August 2013

Release the tapes. This stupid man, like Mugabe his pal, is not fit to lead a nation. He should advertise shower gel.

Jacob Tsaga - 20 August 2013

@INDA ,pliz understand that this guy was guilty from the start how can one be accused for almost 700 charges & not tried for all of them if he is innocent he should order NPA to hand over the tapes ,lt proves to us that this man is a MAFIA all these cases dropped just like that ,typical of AFRICAN leaders.the DA will take him to the dry cleaners this time ,that is why he does'nt want to appoint head of the NPA.

CASHTALK - 20 August 2013

Is anyone surprised why he was quick to congratulate mugabe. Manipulation of the judiciary is the forte of african dictators. Remember he overlooked Mosoneke in favour of a novice for the chief justice position. Similar to chidyausiku/sandura issue.Chidyausiku was a mere high court judge and the results of that politically motivated appointment are there for all to see.

magame - 21 August 2013

Release the tapes/Release the election materials. Does something ring a bell

magame - 21 August 2013


MHIRIZHONGA - 21 August 2013

This court has ruled without fear or favour. Chidyhusiku had 'a moment of weakness' which reasonated with the boss ' 'moment of madness' so you can see why he was promoted abpve Sandura. Sandura was not politically correct he has going to make judiciary judgements unlike his counterpart who thinks we are still in the kangaroo courts era.

maita - 21 August 2013

south Africans must wake up watch out this zille woman.she is so eager to take south Africa back to aphatheid again.they must watch what they call democracy.

jekanyika - 21 August 2013

south Africans must wake up watch out this zille woman.she is so eager to take south Africa back to aphatheid again.they must watch what they call democracy.

jekanyika - 21 August 2013

Payback time, Mr President! An examplary impartial ruling!

Jambanja paSalisbury - 21 August 2013

lol @jacob tsaga that was awesome!!

Oliver - 22 August 2013

Mhosva hairovi.Zuma must pay for his sins.

chakachaya - 22 August 2013

700 charges and all disappeared into thin air, yoh!!!

mamoyo - 30 August 2013

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