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Spy tapes: Zuma ‘not delaying’

The Presidency says appealing to the spy tapes ruling is an exercise of legal rights.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The Presidency says Jacob Zuma is only exercising his legal rights in appealing to the 'spy tapes' ruling.

Earlier this month, the North Gauteng High Court ordered the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to hand over the tapes to the Democratic Alliance (DA) by the end of Friday.

But on Thursday night, Zuma's legal team confirmed they would be appealing the ruling.

The spy tapes refer to transcripts that were used by the NPA to drop fraud and corruption charges against Zuma in 2009.

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

The NPA claimed the tapes showed Zuma was the victim of a political conspiracy and thus withdrew the charges against him.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj on Friday said Zuma was not employing delaying tactics.

"This is not a question of hiding, this is a question of exercising one's rights in law and those rights in law exist precisely to protect people's rights."

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.

Earlier on Friday, law professor Shadrack Gutto said the president was simply playing with the legal system and was not playing fair.

University of Cape Town (UCT) Law Dean Professor Hugh Corder agreed, saying Zuma's actions were "an echo of the repeated use of litigation to stave off what seems to me to be inevitable".

The DA has said it would continue their fight for access to the transcripts.