NPA gets deadline for Zuma tapes

Bulelani Ngcuka
Bulelani Ngcuka

THE DA took a step closer to having the decision to drop corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma reviewed when the Pretoria High Court yesterday made an order on the filing of court papers in the case that started in 2009.

When then acting national public prosecutions director Mokotedi Mpshe dropped the charges against Zuma just before the 2009 election, the DA applied to the high court for an order reviewing and setting aside the decision.

The case has been delayed for years for a variety of reasons, including the challenge by Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) chief against the party’s standing to bring the application.

There was also a delay occasioned by the prosecuting authority’s failure to provide the DA with the record on which the decision not to charge Zuma was based.

The record included the socalled spy tapes – recordings of conversations between then Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy and then NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka – which showed that the timing for charging Zuma had been manipulated for political reasons.

The matter of the record went to the Supreme Court of Appeal twice, and in August the prosecuting authority was ordered to present the record of decision, including the spy tapes, to the DA.

This paved the way for the review to be heard.

Since then, the NPA has twice ignored deadlines – agreed on with the DA’s lawyers – for handing in answering affidavits in the party’s application to review the decision to drop the charges.

However, last week the DA and the NPA agreed on a timetable for handing in documents in the application for a review and the agreement was yesterday made an order of the court by Judge Neil Tuchten.

The NPA must now file its answering affidavit by March 30 and Zuma must file his answering affidavit by April 15.

The DA must file its replying affidavit by May 26, while the NPA and Zuma must then file their heads of argument by June 10.

-Ernest Mabuza

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