Spy tapes: Zuma granted leave to appeal

President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers have been granted leave to appeal an order which would have compelled the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to hand over the so-called spy tapes that got him off the hook on corruption charges.

Two weeks ago, Judge Rammaka Mathopo ordered the NPA to hand over copies of the tapes within five days.

But Mathopo today said there was a reasonable prospect another court would come to a different finding.

“Due to the fact that there are different interpretations contended for by the parties, in my view it is a matter which requires the (Supreme Court of Appeal) to finally decide the correct interpretation,” said Mathopo.

He was referring to the fact that Zuma’s lawyers have argued that an order granted by the SCA last year meant the DA was not entitled to transcriptions of the spy tapes.

The SCA argued that the NPA needed to file a so-called “reduced record”, which would include all material related to its decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma, but excluding his personal representations made to the NPA.

The matter will now go back to the SCA for a final finding on whether the spy tapes have to be filed.

In arguments before the court today, the DA’s lawyers insisted that no matter how much Advocate Kemp J Kemp “stands on his head”, the spy tapes could not form part of Zuma’s confidential disclosures to the NPA.

This was the argument advanced by the DA’s lawyers today in Zuma’s court bid to appeal a judgment ordering the NPA to hand over the spy tapes.

The tapes are transcriptions of intercepted conversations between then acting NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka and then Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy, which got Zuma off the hook on corruption charges in 2009.

Kemp argued that Zuma had “certain rights in terms of the SCA order, those rights are now being threatened by the order the DA seeks to enforce”.

Johan de Waal, appearing for the DA, responded that a “tape cannot be part of a written representation”.

“My learned friend can stand on his head all he wants – a sound cannot find its way on to paper,” De Waal said.

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