NPA unlocks key evidence

Mary Papayya, Canaan Mdletshe and Waghied Misbach

Mary Papayya, Canaan Mdletshe and Waghied Misbach

While Jacob Zuma's lawyer prepares to appeal against the Durban high court's decision to provide the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) with a letter requesting Mauritian authorities to hand over crucial documentation in their ongoing investigation into Zuma's alleged role in the arms deal, the NPA said it is optimistic the case can now be "wrapped up".

Yesterday KwaZulu-Natal high court Judge Phillip Levensohn said the NPA would get a court letter asking the Mauritian government to release the documents, including the diary of Alain Thetard, the former chief executive of the French arms manufacturer Thales International, which records a meeting between Thetard, Zuma and convicted businessman Schabir Shaik.

Zuma's attorney Michael Hulley said they would oppose the decision in court next week.

Hulley told Sowetan: "We want it known that we will be appealing the judgment. We will set out our reasons in court papers, which we will file before the end of next week."

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille said yesterday she was "pleased" the court had decided to grant the NPA permission to get the documents from Mauritius.

"It is in the interests of Jacob Zuma that he appears before a court of law and removes the dark cloud that has been hanging over his head since the allegations against him were made," De Lille said.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said he questioned why Zuma took this action against the NPA. He said he also questioned Zuma's lawyer's advice.

Holomisa said the question would be asked: "What are you trying to hide? That continues to worry me."

The DA's Sheila Camerer said yesterday it was "good news" because this meant that Zuma would get his day in court.

NPA spokesman Panyaza Lusifi said yesterday's ruling was a step in the right direction.

"It means we are a step closer to the conclusion of the matter. The public has been waiting for far too long, and I think we are nearing the end," Lusifi said.