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Another twist to the 'spy tapes' saga

Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba is reviewing the order to hand over the so-called spy tapes.

DA leader Helen Zille addresses the media outside the North Gauteng High Court on 4 September 2014. Picture:Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

PRETORIA - In the latest twist in the spy tapes saga, Deputy Judge President of the North Gauteng High Court, Judge Aubrey Ledwaba, says he is now reviewing the order to hand over the so-called spy tapes and has told Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille to return to the court at 2:30 this afternoon.

The DA leader was photographed receiving a recording of the tapes on a memory stick, but Ledwaba then intervened.

A clearly disappointed Zille emerged from the court saying she was sorry to announce that she did not yet have the tapes.

She said Ledwaba had called the delay by requesting to view the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling before the tapes were released to the party.

Zille said Ledwaba wanted to ensure all the provisions of the ruling were complied with.

The DA leader said her understanding, supported by her legal team, was that the NPA should hand over the recordings and transcripts within five working days.

She said she was, however, confident that the party would receive the tapes when they returned to court.

Last week, the SCA ruled the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) must hand over the recordings to the DA, so it can use them as part of its legal bid to reinstate corruption charges against Zuma.

The tapes allegedly reveal collusion between the former heads of the directorate of special operations, former Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy and NPA former head Bulelani Ngcuka to manipulate the prosecutorial process before the ANC's Polokwane conference in 2007.

Zuma was elected ANC president at the conference.

At the time, acting NPA boss Mokotedi Mpshe said they showed there was a political conspiracy against Zuma and so the case could not continue.

However, the DA wants the tapes to see if they do actually support that claim.

SA'S DEMOCRACY DEPENDS ON DELIVERY OF TAPES

Addressing the media outside the court before the handover, Zille said South Africa's democracy depended on the delivery of the tapes.

Zille said it has taken five years and six court cases to reach this stage, stressing that everyone is equal before the law.

She said this matter involves more than 700 counts of corruption, money laundering and racketeering, which were withdrawn against the president.

The DA leader said South Africans need to know if the charges were withdrawn for political reasons to enable Zuma to be elected as president.

She said if the NPA became a political tool, then it would be used to protect political friends and persecute enemies.

Dozens of DA supporters gathered outside the court waiting for the NPA to hand over the recordings.

Chants of "give us the tapes" filled Madiba Street in front of the court where the legal battle to have the decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma reviewed started in 2009.

DA supporters in their blue shirts were joined by their Economic Freedom Fighters counterparts who are wearing their signature red berets.

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