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DA still fighting for Zuma spy tapes

The DA says its efforts to obtain copies of the Zuma spy tapes are being deliberately obstructed.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma answers questions in parliament. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) believes its efforts to obtain copies of the Zuma spy tapes are being deliberately obstructed.

The North Gauteng High Court on Friday ordered the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to hand over transcripts of the so-called Zuma spy tapes to the DA within five days.

The DA has been fighting for access to the transcripts that were used by the NPA to drop corruption charges against President Zuma in 2009.

The tapes are understood to be recordings of conversations between former NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka and then Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy about the timing of when to charge Zuma with corruption.

The tapes were used as the basis for the decision by the NPA to withdraw the charges.

The DA went to court, saying it has a right to the transcripts as it's legally challenging that decision.

However, the DA's James Selfe said he believes their legal efforts have been intentionally frustrated.

"Every time we think we are going to get what the court has ordered us to get it seems that further legal obstacles are placed in our way."

Last week, Selfe said the ruling paves the way for a court to determine whether the decision to drop charges against Zuma was rational and lawful.

"South Africa has the right to know if there was a case against President Zuma, and if the decision by the NPA to drop the charges was rational and lawful or politically motivated. The NPA will now have to answer to this decision.

The court found that Zuma failed to produce evidence which proved that disclosure of the tapes prejudiced him in any way.

It's unclear whether the NPA or Zuma will make yet another bid to prevent the disclosure of the recordings that got him off the hook.

However, Selfe said if the NPA does decide to appeal last week's court ruling, it will almost certainly ask for the recordings to be handed over while that appeal is being heard.