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20 May 2009 12:45
The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday said it has asked Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to request the parole board to review the granting of medical parole to fraud convict Schabir Shaik.
The DA’s correctional services spokesperson James Selfe said he had sent a letter to the newly appointed minister on Tuesday and was waiting for a response.
He said the minister was the only person who could ask the parole board, headed by Judge Siraj Desai, to review the decision.
“This is quite important because there are hundreds of inmates who are too sick to lift their heads off their pillows and yet they are refused medical parole,” Selfe told Sapa.
He said there was still scepticism about whether Shaik’s illness was terminal.
On his release in March, Shaik’s brother Yunus described his condition as “gravely ill”.
Selfe said the only way for the scepticism to be alleviated was for the board to review the decision.
Yunus told Sapa on Wednesday he did not know whether his brother’s health was improving.
“I cannot comment on how he is doing because I don’t know. I live in Johannesburg and he doesn’t,” Yunus said.
Shaik, the former financial adviser to President Jacob Zuma, served only two years and four months of his 15-year prison term.
He spent most of that time in hospital due to high blood pressure, depression and chest pains.
Shaik was convicted on two counts of corruption and one of fraud which, among other things, related to an alleged bribe facilitation between Zuma and French arms company Thint.
Charges against Zuma were dropped.—Sapa
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