SCA to interrogate spy tapes information before making a decision

The court has referred President Zuma’s application to appeal the High Court’s ruling for oral argument.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - It's being suggested that the Supreme Court of Appeal's decision to hear argument in the spy tapes matter, is to ensure that all the available information is thoroughly interrogated, before a decision is made.

The court today ruled that President Jacob Zuma's legal team should make oral arguments for its application for permission to appeal against an earlier ruling.

The High Court in Pretoria ruled earlier this year that the 2009 decision to withdraw fraud and corruption charges against Zuma was irrational, and set aside.

It's not unprecedented for the Supreme Court to hear both arguments for leave to appeal and for the appeal itself.

Earlier this year, the court did exactly that in a matter involving Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. In the same ruling, the court granted leave to appeal but dismissed the case on its merits.

Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos says the court is probably being thorough.

"It does seem to suggest that they are taking special interest in the case and they're being particularly careful to have as much of the case ventilated as possible before making a decision."

The legal teams have three months to file the required documentation.


While the Democratic Alliance (DA) has welcomed the Supreme Court's decision on the spy tapes matter, it does mean yet another reprieve for Zuma.

The DA has been fighting through the courts since 2010 to ensure Zuma goes on trial.

The DA says it would be in the interests of justice for Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority to stop their appeals, and allow the matter to go trial.

The party believes the applications are nothing more than delay tactics.

De Vos says if Zuma fails in the Supreme Court, he may still approach the highest court in the country.

"Anybody has a right to approach the Constitutional Court, and request then to hear their case. Off course, he (President Zuma) has the right to approach them, then the question will be 'will the Constitutional Court hear the case?.'"

The presidency has not yet responded to the court's decision.