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Arbitrator appointed in spy tape matter

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Legal teams representing the DA, President Jacob Zuma and the NPA have agreed on an arbitrator to review the full-set of the so-called spy tapes records, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said on Friday.

“An agreement was reached today to appoint retired Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) Judge Noel Hurt to act as an arbitrator,” she said in a statement.

“This appointment will now become an order of the SCA at a date to be determined by the court. Once the SCA has finalised this order, all spy tapes records will be released to the arbitrator.”

On August 15, a full bench of the SCA gave Zuma and the DA a chance to resolve their differences with regard to documents in the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) possession involving the tapes.

At the time, the two sides agreed in principle to a third party, a senior legal mind, to be asked to judge what information formed part of the confidential representations of Zuma to the NPA.

The legal counsels had until 4pm on Friday to have an agreement delivered to the SCA.

A SCA court official confirmed on Friday that papers were sent to the court by the deadline.

In April 2009, then acting NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe withdrew fraud and corruption charges against Zuma.

In March last year, the SCA ordered the NPA to lodge a record of the documents on which the NPA based their decision, with the registrar of the high court.

The NPA refused to do so on the basis that it contained confidential representations by Zuma.

The High Court in Pretoria then ordered the NPA to adhere to the original order by the SCA for a reduced record of the documents that the DA was looking for. They included the so-called spy tapes.

Zuma appealed against this decision.

Zille said on Friday that only records determined by the arbitrator to be part of Zuma’s confidential submissions to the NPA, and therefore privileged, would not be released to the DA.

“The decision of the arbitrator will be final and binding on all parties,” she said.

“The DA’s legal team will then study the records on receipt to determine whether a high court review of the NPA’s decision is appropriate.” SAPA

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