Frantic search for Zuma spy tapes

The Hawks reportedly raided the homes of NPA officials in search for the Zuma spy tapes.

Infighting at the NPA appears to have intensified. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Infighting at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) appears to have intensified with a reported frantic search underway for the controversial spy tapes which justified a decision to drop corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma.

The _ Mail & Guardian_ is reporting that the homes of NPA officials were raided by the Hawks just hours before Zuma announced an inquiry into National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Mxolisi Nxasana's fitness to hold office.

The officials are perceived to be close to the NPA's former acting head Nomgcobo Jiba who is reportedly at loggerheads with Nxasana.

The newspaper reports that the raid of NPA officials' homes took place at dawn and search warrants were vaguely drafted to allow the seizure of any documents or files that have relevance to the NPA government or related court cases.

The Hawks have confirmed the raids happened, but could not say if they were indeed aimed at finding the controversial tapes.

In 2009, then NDPP Mokotedi Mpshe decided to drop charges against Zuma saying the tapes revealed a conspiracy against him from within the NPA.

The Democratic Alliance has since gone to court to get the tapes and despite the Supreme Court of Appeal ordering the NPA to hand them over, this has not happened.

The president unveiled plans to establish the inquiry into Nxasana's actions on Saturday following claims that he was denied a high-level security clearance because of previous brushes with the law.

These include being tried for murder in the 1980s, though he was later acquitted on the grounds of self-defence, and accusations of nepotism and serious traffic offences.

But there's still no clarity on whether Nxasana has actually been suspended.