Full bench for DA spy tapes case

Criticism rife as the legal battle to release corruption tapes continues with the NPA

Dozens of DA supports demonstrate outside the Zola Gateway Clinic in Soweto, which they allege has cost over R400-million more than what was originally budgeted for. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The North Gauteng High Court has now decided that a full bench of three judges will hear the Democratic Alliance's case against President Jacob Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority over the so-called Zuma spy tapes.

The party is asking for the tapes which were used by the NPA as proof that there was a political conspiracy against Zuma.

Corruption charges against Zuma were withdrawn just before the 2009 elections.

There has been widespread criticism of the NPA's alleged refusal to hand over these tapes after the Supreme Court of Appeal appeared to rule that they must be given to the DA.

The NPA said handing over of the tapes would be a breach of promise made to President Zuma that these tapes should be kept confidential.

However, the tapes appeared to be the property of the National Intelligence Agency, which has made part of them public.

The tapes are a record of conversations between former NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka and Leonard McCarthy, the head of the Scorpions at the time, in which they described the timing of the decision to charge Zuma with corruption.

Ngcuka and McCarthy were allegedly campaigning for former president Thabo Mbeki to be re-elected as ANC president at the national party conference in Polokwane in December 2007.

The two men were allegedly plotting to charge Zuma just before the ANC conference, or days after he had dethroned Mbeki as the president of the ruling party.