Jean-Jacques Cornish

Zuma hails release of Zuma spy tapes

South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille says the battle to rethink the decision to withdraw criminal charges against President Jacob Zuma has just started.

She was speaking after being handed tapes used by prosecutors to justify dropping the charges before Zuma’s election five years ago.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille says the so called spy tapes and transcriptions will be used to look again at the withdrawal of more than 700 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering against Zuma in 2009.

Zuma’s welcomed the release of the tapes at the High Court in Pretoria yesterday (Thursday) although Zille recalls that the presidency blocked this for five years through six court cases.

She says the contents of the tapes will be measured against the record of the National Prosecuting Authority to drop charges against Zuma.

The DA’s concerned that the case against Zuma may have been determined by political considerations and not legal ones.

If this proves to be so, it will be a profound case of the independence of state institutions being undermined.

The handover of the spy tapes was delayed by an hour as deputy judge president Aubrey Ledwaba checked that the Supreme Court of Appeal judgment was followed.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.