31 January 2012

PAIA to be used to obtain Zuma spy tapes

In a renewed effort to retrieve the missing link that lead to fraud and corruption charges against President Zuma being dropped, "the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is to submit a formal application in terms of Promotion of Access to Information Act for access to recordings" between "Willie Hofmeyr's former deputy, Faiek Davids, and former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy"

The PAIA submission is to be made to the Office for Interception Centre (OIC) which provides a centralized interception service to law enforcement agencies (such as the SIU).

The request to make the tapes available has been made by former SIU head Willie Hofmeyer, through the unit. If it is established that the OIC has copies of the tapes this could see the case against Zuma being re-opened.

According to Hofmeyer, the recordings are crucial evidence that allegedly capture a secret collusion between Davids and McCathy to get him fired. He argues that in his absence, investigations into Zuma would be negatively affected, leading to charges being dropped.
The move by Hofmeyer to engage with PAIA to exercise the right to access information demonstrates the need to have such a mechanism in a democratically elected state.

In relation to the work done by SAHA's Freedom of Infomation programme, the submission shows how PAIA can be used by individuals, private and public bodies as an investigative and advocacy tool.