Raids on Zuma and Shaik continue
The Scorpions’ raids on the homes of former deputy president Jacob Zuma and his financial adviser Schabir Shaik were still under way by noon on Thursday.
The front door of Zuma’s Johannesburg home in Epping Road, Forest Town, was open and the Scorpions could be seen walking inside the house.
Zuma was seen walking outside the house briefly.
Zuma’s attorney Michael Hulley was on his way to the house to consult with him over the developments. Attorney Reeves Parsee had arrived at Shaik’s Durban home in Innes Road, Morningside, to consult with Shaik.
All enquiries about the raid were referred to a National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson who was not immediately available for comment.
The raids began early on Thursday morning and included Hulley’s offices in Durban and Zuma’s traditional homestead at rural Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal. Reliable sources who preferred not to be named said the offices of French arms manufacturer Thomson-CSF in Pretoria were also raided.
Shaik is currently appealing a fraud and corruption conviction relating to his relationship with Zuma, and Zuma goes on trial in October on corruption charges laid after Shaik’s conviction. Thomson-CSF was implicated in the corruption charge against Shaik.
A Scorpions member guarding the street outside Zuma’s Johannesburg home denied that the presidential protection unit—assigned to Zuma after he was “released” from his post by President Thabo Mbeki earlier this year—had prevented the raid.
“The raid is under way,” he said, but would not comment further.
Earlier, there was a brief confrontation between the occupants of a black Jeep, now identified as Zuma’s bodyguards, and the Scorpions official posted at the entrance to the property.
The Jeep had screeched to halt outside the stone-clad home and the men ran to the gates with their automatic rifles, tapped on the gate with the weapons and told the Scorpions to put down their firearms.
The Scorpions guard told them to “please calm down” and they entered the property.
Parked behind the Jeep was a vehicle marked “Presidential Protection Unit”.
The men were later seen speaking loudly to the Scorpions inside the property.
A spokesperson for the police’s protection and security services said it is policy not to comment to the media on VIP protection matters.
“We are not prepared to comment,” said Director Sally de Beer.
Hulley said earlier: “They raided Mr Zuma’s residence in Johannesburg and my offices in Durban. There was certain information that they were looking for in terms of a warrant that they had secured.”
He knew no more about the purpose of the raid. He expected to receive an inventory of seized items later in the day.
“I am on my way to see him [Zuma] as we speak.”
Zuma, who is also the former provincial minister for the department of economic affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, was charged with two counts of corruption after Shaik was sentenced to 15 years in jail for fraud and corruption.
Shaik’s brother Mo Shaik confirmed the searches, which he said occurred at about 6am on Thursday.
“The lawyers are dealing with it,” Mo said.
“Clearly we are upset about this. They may be within the law, but for us there has been a trial and there is a process of appeal and this distracts us from the appeal. There is something very wrong here. You don’t charge and then investigate.”—Sapa