Supreme Court of Appeal Orders the NPA to Release the Zuma Spy Tapes

By Oliver Ngwenya    29-Aug-2014 03:58 UTC+02:00
Former President Thabo Mbeki, left and Incumbent President Jacob Zuma. The Spy Tapes Release Could Spell Doom for Both Men. Image: Daily Maverick

Former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki (left) and incumbent president Jacob Zuma. The spy tapes release could spell doom for both men.
Image: Daily Maverick.

The now notorious Zuma Spy Tapes will have to be released by the National Prosecuting Authority to the Democratic Alliance within five days. This was after a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal, which demanded that the tapes be handed over in the given time frame.

The tapes go back more than five years ago just before current President, Jacob Zuma was sworn in as the leader of the Republic. Several charges had been raised against him which could have prevented his ascendancy to the top job in the country. The charges that he was being investigated for included fraud, corruption and money laundering.

According to the then acting leader of the NPA, Mokotedi Mpshe, the authority had taken the decision not to go ahead with investigating the charges against Zuma because they had evidence that there was a political conspiracy against him. It is alleged that the tapes reveal a collusion between Leornard McCarthy, who was then head of the directorate of Special Operations of the Scorpions and the former NPA Boss, Bulelani Ngcuka. The apparent idea was to manipulate the prosecution process against Zuma before the ANC conference which then elected Zuma to the Presidency. After his election, the new NPA Boss, Mpshe took the decision not to continue with the investigation, citing the existence of these tapes. However, the contents of these tapes was not made public, leading the main opposition to go to court to seek their release.

The Democratic Alliance has sought and won the release of these tapes from the prosecuting authority several times but these are yet to be released. In the last court application just before this year’s elections, President Zuma’s legal team refrained from handing over the tapes, arguing that, if they did, the Democratic Alliance would use them for their political gain over Zuma. In its most recent ruling on Thursday, the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed with costs, the application to stop the release of the tapes by the Zuma legal team. Commenting on the ruling, Arms deal critic, Hennie van Vuuren said the release of the tapes was important in two ways: firstly that it will grant the people an insight into what is contained in the tapes, what caused the NPA to drop the charges against Zuma. Secondly, he said that they could also provide information on the cover up that occurred in the Arms deal, a multi billion rand transaction that occurred in 1999 which has roped in several top political heavyweights, including former president Thabo Mbeki. Whatever is in the tapes, it surely promises a lot of fireworks for the politics of the republic.

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