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Zille: Spy tapes battle just beginning

The DA leader said today's victory is hugely significant in that it paves the way for the next step.

DA leader Helen Zille stands outside the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria with the so-called Zuma spy tapes on 4 September, 2014. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG -While Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille has hailed the delivery of the so-called Zuma spy tapes as a victory, she says the battle to have the decision reviewed to withdraw charges against President Jacob Zuma has just started.

The party accepted a sealed plastic bag containing a memory stick of the spy-tape recordings as well as their transcriptions in the North Gauteng High court in Pretoria earlier today.

The DA leader said this evidence will be used to launch a review application on the withdrawal of more than 700 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering against Zuma five years ago.

Zille said this victory is hugely significant in that it paves the way for the next step.

"They are giving us transcripts of tapes and copies of tapes that they have tried to prevent us from having for five years through six court cases. I believe that we can now proceed with our review application."

She said the contents of the spy tapes will be measured against the record of the decision by the National prosecuting Authority (NPA) to drop charges against Zuma.

"We have a strong concern that the case against Zuma may have been determined by political considerations and not legal ones."

Zille said if this is the case, it would be a profound case of the independence of state institutions being undermined.

"It's our job to make sure that we defend the integrity of the independence of these institutions and that is what this case is about."

She said she hopes to launch the review application in court soon.

ZUMA 'WELCOMES' RELEASE OF TAPES

In a statement, the presidency says Zuma has welcomed the release of the record relating to the spy tapes.

It also says these records were filed after c onsultation and verification by the NPA, the DA and lawyers representing Zuma and that it is an agreement reached between all the parties which were then presented to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

It doesn't mention however that Zuma originally appealed the original decision that these tapes should be released only for his lawyer to then concede in court that he had no argument to make.

It also doesn't explain why Zuma has appeared to delay their release for the last five years.

Last week, the SCA gave the NPA five working days to hand over the recordings, which were used to justify the decision to withdraw corruption charges against Zuma five years ago.

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.