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Zuma spy tapes look set to be released

Zuma’s advocate admitted he had no argument to justify why the tapes shouldn't be released to the DA.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The release of the so-called Zuma spy tapes appears to be imminent following today's ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

President Jacob Zuma's advocate told the court earlier today that he had to concede he had no argument to justify why they should not be given to the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The recordings of conversations between former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Bulelani Ngcuka and then Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy were used to justify the decision to withdraw corruption charges against Zuma after Schabir Shaik was convicted of paying him bribes.

The DA argues the tapes form part of the record of the decision to withdraw corruption charges against Zuma just before the 2009 elections and therefore need to be studied.

The president's advocate Kemp J Kemp was asked outright by one of the judges if he had no argument and was thus conceding the appeal.

Kemp said it appeared he was.

The DA's James Selfe says this raises questions about why Zuma fought for so long to keep these tapes secret.

"My instinct tells me that the president has wanted to delay, to obfuscate, to get in the way of handing over this information."

The DA and Zuma now have to agree on a senior council lawyer or a retired judge who will arbitrate between them about which other NPA documents, that were a part of its decision, will be given to the opposition party.