'Spy tapes' battle continues

In court the DA will attempt to compel the NPA to hand the tapes over.

The Democratic Alliance's (DA) fight to compel the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to hand over the so-called Zuma spy tapes resumes on 24 July. Picture:RSC.Inc.

JOHANNESBURG - The controversy around the Zuma spy tapes will return to court on Wednesday morning as the Democratic Alliance (DA) will attempt to compel the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to hand them over.

The DA is attempting to get the NPA to comply with a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) order instructing it to hand over the reduced record that led to the dropping of corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma.

"What we want the court to do is to compel the NPA to hand over the reduced record of the decision to discontinue prosecution against President Zuma," said the DA's James Selfe.

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

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 reelected 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.

However, former prosecutions head Mokotedi Mpshe decided to drop the charges against Zuma just before the 2009 elections.

The DA believes access to the tapes will shed more light on why the charges against Zuma were dropped.

Early last year the SCA ruled the DA should have access to the tapes as part of its bid for a judicial review of the NPA's decision to drop the charges against Zuma.

The NPA claimed it couldn't release the tapes because it made a promise that submissions by Zuma would be kept confidential.

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

There has been widespread criticism of the NPA's alleged refusal to hand over these tapes.