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Zille: Spy tapes withheld for political gain

The DA leader says she suspects corruption charges against the president were withdrawn for political reasons.

DA leader Helen Zille. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille says her party's fight for the so-called Zuma spy tapes is central to one of the most important cases in the country's history.

She says she suspects corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma were withdrawn for political reasons.

Zille says once the DA accesses the tapes and records which informed the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)'s decision to drop the charges against Zuma, it will decide whether to pursue a review of that decision.

"It's one of the most important cases in our history and certainly the most important review case in the history of our democracy. The entire constitutional order rests on the principle that everyone is equal before the law and that we have the rule of law and constitutionalism. If that goes, our country will unravel."

The recordings of conversations between former 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 Supreme Court of Appeal has given the DA and Zuma's advocate several days to see whether they can agree on whom to mandate in order to review the NPA's internal minutes on the corruption case against the president.

Only after that's decided will it be released to the opposition party.

Last week, Zuma's advocate told the court that he had no argument to justify why the spy tapes should not be given to the DA.