South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeals has ordered the release of allegedly secretly recorded audio tapes about corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma.

The court in Bloemfontein on Thursday ordered the release of the recordings after an appeal by opposition party Democratic Alliance.

Conversations on the tapes were cited as a reason that fraud and corruption charges were dropped against Zuma before he was inaugurated in 2009. The prosecuting authority at that time said the conversations showed there was a political conspiracy against Zuma, but the actual recordings were never made public.

Zuma's lawyers argued that the opposition may use the recordings for political gain. The opposition applauded the court's decision.

The National Prosecuting authority has five days to hand the tapes over.