‘Spy tapes’ given to SA opposition

South African opposition leader Hellen Zille addresses a crowd of supporters outside the High Court in Pretoria on 4 September 2014 Helen Zille has fought a lengthy battle to obtain the tapes

South Africa’s opposition leader Helen Zille has been handed the “spy tapes” which she hopes will lead to corruption charges being reinstated against President Jacob Zuma.

The tapes formed the basis of a 2009 decision by prosecutors to drop the charges against Mr Zuma.

Ms Zille won a five-year legal battle to obtain the tapes to assess whether prosecutors had acted correctly.

Mr Zuma was accused of taking bribes in a multi-million dollar arms deal.

He denied the charges, insisting he was the victim of a “political conspiracy” hatched by his opponents in the governing African National Congress (ANC) to prevent him from becoming president.

Ms Zille walked out of the High Court in the capital, Pretoria, with a bag containing transcripts of recordings and a memory stick.

It followed a ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal last week that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) should give the tapes to Ms Zille’s Democratic Alliance (DA).

Intelligence officials allegedly intercepted telephonic conversations while Mr Zuma was being investigated by an elite anti-corruption unit known as the Scorpions.

The tapes were given to South Africa’s then-chief prosecutor Mokotedi Mpshe.

He dropped the charges, saying the tapes proved there had been “political interference” in the case and Mr Zuma would be denied a fair trial.

Mr Mpshe’s decision came ahead of the 2009 elections.

The ANC won the elections, opening the way for Mr Zuma to become president.