President Jacob Zuma on Thursday welcomed the release of the so-called “spy tapes”.
“The president is happy with the process thus far,” Zuma’s spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement shortly after a copy was given to the Democratic Alliance. The originals would be kept at the High Court in Pretoria.
The Supreme Court of Appeal ordered the National Prosecuting Authority last week to release the tapes within five days. Zuma had opposed the move.
It ordered that the documents be delivered to retired KwaZulu-Natal high court judge Noel Hurt, who would study the documents, mark those containing Zuma’s confidential written or oral representations to the NPA, and leave those out of the bundle to the DA.
Maharaj said Hurt would on Thursday be given separate internal documentation, to consider whether this revealed Zuma’s confidential representations to the NPA or not.
“All of this emanated from the agreement which the parties reached and which was presented to the SCA for incorporation into the order of the court,” he said.
“This process is designed to determine what constitutes the record upon which the NPA decision was based.”
The DA applied for access to the tapes and, in spite of winning previous court cases, could not obtain them.
Zuma’s legal team had argued in the last application that the opposition would use it against him for political gain.
Conversations on the recordings were cited as a reason to drop fraud and corruption charges against Zuma, shortly before he was sworn in as president in 2009.
At the time, acting NPA boss Mokotedi Mpshe said they showed there was a political conspiracy against Zuma and so the case could not continue.
The tapes, containing recordings of phone conversations, allegedly reveal collusion between the former heads of the Directorate of Special Operations, the now defunct Scorpions, Leonard McCarthy, and the NPA’s former head Bulelani Ngcuka, to manipulate the prosecutorial process, before the ANC’s Polokwane conference in 2007. Zuma was elected ANC president at the conference. SAPA