Schabir Shaik – former financial advisor to African National Congress and South African president Jacob Zuma – was ‘sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2005 on two counts of corruption and one of fraud, which, among other things, related to an alleged bribe he negotiated between Zuma and a French arms company’ according to Politicsweb.co.za, and released on ‘medical parole’ by the department of Correctional Services minister Ngconde Balfour.
The department spokesperson Manelisi Wolela, at the time, said they [the department] “have... been informed that the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board of the Durban Westville Management Area has decided to grant a 'medical parole' to offender Schabir Shaik following his re-appearance on Monday 02 March 2009.”
Shaik was reportedly “in the final stages of a terminal illness” according to the report at the time.
That, however, seems to have changed as he, Shaik, has been spotted several times by the media (Mail & Guardian, Rapport, Beeld and City Press newspapers) doing what a normal person – and not the one in his ‘final stages of his life’ or a ‘death row’ – would do any under normal circumstances.
Balfour said at the time that Shaik satisfied the law's requirement of a ‘terminal condition’ and that his decision (for releasing Shaik) was ‘correct’.
One just wonders, given the reports of Shaik going shopping while at the same time said to be breaking his parole conditions, if Balfour or whoever is the now the minister will change the decision by reversing it as it now appears that Shaik has recuperated and recovered from his ‘ill-health’ and is pretty much doing well.
Shaik is also reported by Politicsweb to have applied for a presidential pardon to Zuma according to correspondence between Democratic Alliance and The Presidency in October this year, 2009.
This was later confirmed yesterday by a City Press newspaper report that alledged Shaik wants his ‘f*%#@!! Pardon’ from Zuma.
Shaik’s release attracted concerns from many quarters in the country such that Democratic Alliance(DA) wrote to the Health Professional Council of South Africa(HPCSA) requesting investigations into ‘serious anomalies associated with the granting of medical parole to Schabir Shaik’
This, DA said in its letter to HPCSA, followed the reports in a Sunday newspaper that Professor DP Naidoo, Head of Cardiology at the hospital where Mr Shaik was treated, personally discharged Shaik in November - but that the Department of Correctional Services blocked Shaik's return to prison.
“At present, the evidence available to the public suggests that Mr Shaik is suffering from an illness, but is not in the final phase of a terminal illness. This inevitably raises serious questions about the procedure followed by the medical practitioners” said DA at the time.
It further indicated that ‘The Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services was informed on August 12th that Shaik was ill, but was not suffering from a terminal illness’ and newspaper reports at the time (as mentioned before) had quoted medical staff at the hospital where Shaik was being treated as saying that they were never under the impression that Shaik was terminal, and that he had not even been following a specific diet.
Sunday Times, alledged DA at the time, quoted the hospital's head of cardiology as saying that Shaik was considered well enough to leave hospital four months ago, and was officially discharged.
The investigations by HPCSA later revealed that “gravely serious medical condition of Mr Shaik” according to Daily News in April this year.
According to the report at the time, medical practitioners were cleared of any 'misstated or misrepresented or falsified or exaggerated Shaik’s medical conditions in order to influence or procure inappropriate release on medical grounds’.
The investigation further confirmed that the ‘reports [medical of Shaik] were a true reflection of pure clinical observation and records which were not susceptible to manipulation or misstatement’ by the practitioners and that ‘none of the reports by the practitioners involved were as a result of a political consideration or relationship or status of Mr Shaik to the president of the ANC [and of the country, Zuma]’ as was reported by Daily News.
It is worth asking again what DA shadow minister of corrections services asked today of “How much more proof does the Minister need before deciding to act against [Shaik]?”
She however said: “there are even photographs to back up the claims. The larger problem is of course that the lack of action by the Department following these reports further undermines the criminal justice system in the eyes of South Africans, who perceive that there is one law for the politically connected and another for ordinary citizens. There is absolutely no doubt that Shaik was released for political reasons and not on medical grounds”. And this revelation certainly did not ‘rest’ Balfour’s case of Shaik.
In fact, it felt much to be dug instead. In April this year Balfour told Mail & Guardian Online and South African Press Association (SAPA) that he “rest(s) [his] case and I hope this will bring this matter to its conclusion”. Even Zuma was quoted in the report as saying “none of the reports ... were as a result of a political consideration or relationship or status of Mr Shaik to the resident of the ANC”.
If Shaik was really ‘terminally ill’ as has been alledged by the medical practitioners who examined him at the time and that which he seems to have recovered from give or as can be seen by his constant ‘shopping spree’ tendencies of late – is he not supposed to be thrown back into jail (and probably rot there) just like some criminals his type, e.g. Ananias Mathe?