JOHANNESBURG – The Presidency says it will only reveal the reasons why President Jacob Zuma is opposing the release of the Zuma spy tapes when they are required to in court.
On Thursday, Zuma confirmed he would appeal last week’s North Gauteng High Court ruling ordering the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to hand over the tapes to the Democratic Alliance (DA).
In 2009, the NPA said the tapes provided proof of a political conspiracy against Zuma and said that justified the withdrawal of corruption charges against him.
Zuma’s spokesperson Mac Maharaj told Eyewitness News he won’t say at this point why Zuma doesn’t want these tapes released.
“We will take the public into confidence through the correct arena where legal issues are resolved. The arguments will be in open court.”
But he won’t answer questions about why Zuma is refusing to explain his reasons.
“We are at the moment resolving the matter before the courts and you are not going to shift the thing from the courts into the rooms of a radio station,” he said, referring to Talk Radio 702.
Maharaj can’t answer why Zuma won’t release these tapes when they were used to his advantage and saved him from facing a corruption trial.
Maharaj says the NPA was abused during the decision to charge Zuma with corruption as part of the political conspiracy against him.
“If the NPA was abused by the officers holding that power, nothing has happened to them. How does that get resolved?”
Maharaj also explained why Zuma’s lawyers feel they have a strong case despite legal experts saying earlier on Friday they believed the appeal is doomed to fail.
“That’s because, in law, until the court pronounces on it, there are always going to lawyers who will differ and, in fact, for every two lawyers that you put experts before me, you’ll three opinions.”
Law Professor Shadrack Gutto said President Zuma is simply playing with the legal system unfairly, while UCT’s Law Dean, Professor Hugh Corder, said Zuma’s actions were “an echo of the repeated use of litigation to stave off what seems to me to be inevitable.”
The appeal could strengthen speculation the tapes don’t constitute legal grounds to withdraw the charges and that Zuma still fears being tried for corruption.
(Edited by Craig Wynn)