Schabir Shaik and the R10-million house

Schabir Shaik, who was medically paroled last week under a cloud of controversy, tried to buy a R10-million home on Eastbourne Road in Durban — considered “one of the Durban addresses” — a week before he was released from hospital.

Pam Golding Properties’ Durban manager, Carol Reynolds, confirmed Shaik made a verbal offer of R10-million on the property “two weeks ago, around the same time as there was another bid for R9,8-million on the table”.

“The seller decided to go with the written offer [of R9,8-million] because the verbal offer wasn’t completely conclusive and too high risk,” said Reynolds.

She said the five-bedroom house is on 2 000 square metres of “prime land” and has “lots of reception areas and a kitchen the size of a flat”.

“It is one of the Durban addresses, one of those beautiful, grand old Durban houses with wraparound balconies,” said Reynolds.

The palatial two-storey mansion is on the same road and a stone’s throw away from King’s House, the official Durban residence of the state president. It is likely to be African National Congress president Jacob Zuma’s base after next month’s elections.

A family member said Shaik’s wife Zuleika had considered renting the house, but had thought it too “dilapidated”.

The offer for the Eastbourne Road house, a few streets up from Shaik’s current home in Morningside, also raises questions about his financial capacity.

In 2006 the asset forfeiture unit seized R34,4-million in assets from Shaik and his three Nkobi companies after they were deemed to be proceeds or benefits of his corrupt relationship with Zuma.

In January this year the National Prosecuting Authority agreed to pay Shaik half the R14-million interest this had accrued over two years.

He was paid R5-million in cash and another R2-million to cover his legal fees. The remainder of the interest and the original R34,4-million were deposited into the criminal asset recovery account.

Shaik, who has served two years and four months—most of it in private hospitals or in Albert Luthuli Hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) in Durban—continued to be dogged by controversy in the second week of his parole.

Earlier this week a medical report sent to the head of Medium B prison at Westville correctional facility by the head of cardiology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s medical school, Professor DP Naidoo, and principal specialist Dr Sajidah Khan, was leaked to the media.

Dated September last year, this recommended medical parole because Shaik “had a lengthy stay under specialist care without effect”. The report goes on to state that “despite our best efforts, Mr Shaik’s [high blood] pressure remains refractory to medication”.

“We cannot keep him in hospital indefinitely, and since the prison authorities are reluctant to manage him at the prison hospital, where conditions are suboptimal, we recommend that he be considered for medical parole,” the report stated.

The report made no mention of Shaik being in the final phase of a terminal illness—the only legal grounds for such a release.

It is understood that each patient in the ICU at Luthuli Hospital has an average of four doctors in attendance around the clock and a personal nurse on 24-hour call.

Shaik’s release has raised the ire of political parties and civil society.

A Democratic Alliance complaint to the Health Professions Council of South Africa has prompted an investigation of all the health practitioners involved in Shaik’s treatment.

Condemning “preferential treatment”, the Social Justice Coalition called this week for a judicial review of the grounds for Shaik’s parole.

Said the coalition’s Gavin Silber: “According to a recent department of correctional services survey there are at least 32 000 people in South African prisons who are HIV-positive.

At least 7 000 people require ARVs now, but fewer than 3 000 are actually receiving them. To compound this they are forced to continue living with their debilitating conditions in overly cramped cells where they are very likely to contract opportunistic infections such as TB, and where unprotected and often coerced sexual behaviour is rife.

“Very few sick prisoners will ever get a hospital bed, let alone be released on bail to die a dignified death, no matter how severe or advanced their condition is.”

Niren Tolsi

Niren Tolsi

Niren Tolsi is a freelance journalist.His areas of interest include social justice; citizen mobilisation and state violence; protest; the constitution and the constitutional court and football. Read more from Niren Tolsi

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