Shaik 'remained in hospital' until release

The head of cardiology at Inkosi Albert Luthuli hospital in Durban discharged Schabir Shaik four months ago because he was considered well enough to leave, the Sunday Times reported.

However, when the hospital board and the Correctional Services Department intervened, Shaik did not return to hospital but remained in the ward until his controversial parole this week, the newspaper said.

“We managed him, and I was personally responsible for discharging him months ago. But he remained at the hospital until he was paroled this week,” said head of the hospital’s cardiology unit, Professor DP Naidoo.

Shaik was officially paroled in November last year, the same time his application for parole was heard and adjourned to this month.

Naidoo was reportedly told by a member of the hospital’s management that Shaik would remain there until the Correctional Services Department had made a decision about where to place him.

“I was told it was beyond my control. it was in the hands of hospital management and correctional services,” said Naidoo.

Responding to this, Correctional Services Department spokesperson Manelisi Wolela was quoted as saying: “None of our frontline people know of this.
They are astonished by the allegation.”

He said if evidence were produced that show the parole procedure had been compromised, it could be the basis of a review.

Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal health department spokesperson Leon Mbangwa said he would need Naidoo’s statement in writing before he could investigate further.

Shaik has been in and out of hospital at least four times since his imprisonment.

He 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 ANC president Jacob Zuma and a French arms company.

Not unique
Shaik’s parole is not a unique phenomenon, Justice Minister Enver Surty said last week.

“It is not an unprecedented event,” Surty told the media at a justice, crime prevention and security cluster briefing in Pretoria.

Surty said in 2007 and 2008, 70 prisoners had been granted medical parole.

“Thirty-six percent of those who were released have passed on.”

There had also been a decrease in the number of medical paroles granted since 2004.

“It’s not acceptable but certainly a 42% decline,” he said.

Surty said he believed the public had the right to know what the specific grounds for medical parole were, but this right needed to be balanced with an individual’s right to privacy.

While not speaking on behalf of the Correctional Services Minister, Surty said he was certain that Ngconde Balfour was satisfied that Shaik’s parole had been in compliance with the law. - Sapa

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