Govt silent on spy tapes saga

The Presidency says it has no comment on Helen Zille’s claim the spy tapes strengthen her case against Zuma.

FILE: DA leaders, Helen Zille and forensic experts verifying spy tape materials from the NPA on 4 September 2014. Twitter via DA News

JOHANNESBURG - The Presidency says it has no comment to make in response to Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille's claims that the Zuma spy tapes strengthen her case to reinstate corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma.

On Monday, the DA leader said the tapes do not include any information that was not already in the public domain.

In 2009, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the recordings of conversations between its former head Bulelani Ngucka and then Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy meant it had to withdraw the charges against the president.

The tapes, which feature recordings of 36 conversations over five months, may be used against the president.

Former acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe withdrew the charges against Zuma in 2009, before he was sworn in as president.

The Presidency says it has no comment to make at this time on this issue, but Zille says she is now planning to start her court application in October and that the lack of new information on these recordings helps to prove her case that there was no conspiracy against Zuma.

However, this could be a long legal battle, as the president is likely to appeal any decision to reinstate those charges.

That means that the case can be only be finally decided in 2016, as the African National Congress (ANC) goes to municipal elections.

Meanwhile, Mpshe says he does not understand why the president's lawyers opposed the release of the spy tapes and he still believes its contents justify the decision to drop corruption charges against him.

The former acting national director of public prosecutions says he also doesn't believe his integrity is at stake, nor does he feel uncomfortable about the prospect of his decision being reviewed.

Mpshe says the release of the tapes should not have been delayed.

"Since they started asking for it, I was saying but why can't these things be released? What is sinister about releasing the tapes? Because I spoke about the tapes and my decision was based on that. Why were they dilly-dallying with releasing the tapes? I don't know."

At the same time, the DA has indicated it may be able to reinstate corruption charges against Zuma as early as next year.

Zille says judging from the transcripts there seems to be sufficient grounds to have the process speeded u p.

The DA leader says its lawyers are hard at work.

"This doesn't have to take a long time. In fact the matter should be back in court by the beginning of next year."