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DA to resume 'spy tapes' battle today

The party wants fraud and corruption charges to be reinstated against President Jacob Zuma.

FILE: DA leaders, Helen Zille and forensic experts verifying materials from the NPA on the Jacob Zuma spy tapes on 4 September 2014. Twitter via DA News.

PRETORIA - The secretly recorded telephone conversations of a former Scorpions boss, and how they influenced the decision to withdraw criminal charges against President Jacob Zuma, will return to the country's courts once again.

The North Gauteng High Court will today hear the next leg of the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s six-year battle over the so-called spy tapes saga.

The party wants fraud and corruption charges to be reinstated against President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma was charged in 2007 for his alleged involvement in the controversial arms deal and accused of using his political influence to secure contracts for convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik.

Acting prosecutions boss Mokotedi Mpshe withdrew the charges in 2009 following representations from Zuma, which included the spy tapes.

The tapes were secretly recorded conversations of former Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy.

The DA will argue that the reliance on the spy tapes to withdraw charges against the president was irrational and therefore unlawful.

The party's James Selfe says if they successfully argue this, Zuma might have his day in court.

"We are asking for a decision to be made to discontinue the prosecution to be declared irrational and set aside. That might imply that the NPA would then reinstitute the charges that were dropped."

However, Zuma has maintained that the decision to charges against him was rational and will stand up to scrutiny in court.

Selfe says they want the court to review that decision.

"This is the issue of principle because we don't believe that it is healthy in any judicial system for a prosecuting authority to take decisions on political grounds. If they are to drop charges it must be because a charge cannot be sustained in law."

The Presidency said in a statement last night that Zuma maintains the court proceedings are an abuse of process by a political party seeking to advance an agenda.

The matter has been set down for three days.

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