The DA says on its website that it has “received notification from the lawyers acting for President Jacob Zuma that they intend to apply for leave to appeal the decision of the North Gauteng High Court, which had instructed the NPA to hand over the controversial spy tapes and all related memoranda within five days”.
The tape transcripts and other documents relate to an NPA decision in 2009 to drop corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma.
James Selfe of the DA says: “We are advised by our lawyers that their grounds for this appeal are flimsy and it remains unclear on what basis they can appeal at all. This can be therefore interpreted as nothing more than a delaying tactic, at the taxpayer’s expense, to prevent this crucial information from being made public.”
Charl du Plessis of City Press reports that Zuma’s lawyers have argued that the tapes, interceptions of telephone conversations between former NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka and Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy, were “part and parcel” of confidential representations made by Zuma to the NPA. These confidential representations are protected and cannot be disclosed.
The existence of the tapes was made public by Zuma’s lawyer Michael Hulley.
The NPA then obtained declassified copies from the then National Intelligence Agency.
But last week Mathopo rejected Zuma’s argument, ruling that “[the NPA]has a duty to explain to the citizenry why and how [acting prosecutions head Mokotedi]Mpshe arrived at the decision to quash the criminal charges against [Zuma] in pursuance of its constitutional obligations.”
Mathopo ordered the NPA to file copies of the tapes within five days and also to make internal documentation of the NPA relating to the decision available to the DA’s lawyers on a confidential basis.
The DA says it will continue with the case “in defence of two hugely important principles: first that no-one, even the President, is above the law, and second, that the NPA must be able to do its job without fear, favour or prejudice. South Africa’s constitutional democracy depends on them”.