DA revisits Schabir Shaik parole

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is taking legal advice on whether Schabir Shaik’s release on medical parole is reviewable after reported sightings of Shaik driving around Durban have renewed interest in the matter.

“The recent reported sighting of Schabir Shaik driving himself around Durban confirms suspicions that his release from prison on medical parole was nothing more than political favouritism,” said DA MP James Selfe.

He also planned to ask Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula again to refer the matter to the Correctional Supervision and Parole Review Board for review, and he has submitted a question to be answered in Parliament next Wednesday.

Selfe said there were “far too many doubts” about Shaik’s release last year.

Shaik was President Jacob Zuma’s financial adviser and was convicted of fraud and corruption over his company’s finances after a trial relating to an alleged bribe paid to Zuma through Shaik by arms company Thint.

The investigation on whether Zuma received a bribe was abandoned last year when the National Prosecuting Authority cited interference in the investigation.

Zuma had said he was loaned the money by Shaik, and was paying it back.

“At the time of his release there was no clear indication of whether or not Mr Shaik was indeed suffering from a terminal illness. Now, almost six months later, he has been spotted driving around Durban, apparently in perfect health,” said Selfe.

Previous attempts to get clarity on the matter had failed, he said.

This included a letter to then president Kgalema Motlanthe and to former correctional services minister Ngconde Balfour requesting that the matter be referred to the Correctional Supervision and Parole Review Board.

The DA did not get a response to two submissions in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act to the Parole Board or from the Department of Correctional Services.

Mapisa-Nqakula also declined a previous DA request that the matter be referred to the Parole Review Board.

The DA said many terminally ill inmates are not released from jail and die there, even though medical parole had been recommended.

“This points to a parole system that is inequitable and ineffective and must also be reviewed.”

Manelisi Wolela, spokesperson for Mapisa-Nqakula, could not comment immediately.—Sapa

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