/ 11 August 2009

No basis for review of Shaik parole, says department

Correctional Services on Tuesday defended the decision to grant medical parole to Schabir Shaik, saying there is no basis for a review.

The Correctional Services Department on Tuesday defended the decision to grant medical parole to fraud convict Schabir Shaik, saying there is no basis for a review of the decision.

”It must be remembered that Mr Shaik was examined by three medical doctors who concurred that he qualified for placement on parole in terms of Section 79 of Correctional Services Act,” the department said in a statement.

In terms of the Act, offenders who were in the final phases of a terminal illness could be placed on parole to die a consolatory death.

The decision of the three medical doctors was also subjected to scrutiny by the Health Professions Council of South Africa, which actually cleared them of any wrong doing, the department said.

It was also crucial to note that the Act made no provision for re-incarceration of parolees who might have recovered or not died within a given period of time.

”An audit done by correctional services revealed that basically about 36 of parolees released on medical grounds do not die within 12 months of having been placed on parole following a medical report describing them as in the final phases of a terminal illness.

”This means over 60% of very sick offenders deemed to be on the death bed by medical doctors, had not died immediately after being placed on parole.”

Unfortunately, the complexity on making these determinations was serious, such that some of these parolees not only recovered but continued acts of crime, some of which were regarded as aggressive and serious.

”Those that commit crime get re-incarcerated to finish their sentences in custody. However the law does not provide for rearrest of any parolee that recovers.

”Correctional services again wishes to repeat that legally there is no base for raising questions about the decision of medical doctors that have gone through, possibly, the most intensive scrutiny to date.

”In terms of Section 75(8) of the Act, the decision of the Parole Board is final, except that the minister may refer the matter to the Review Board for reconsideration, but in light of the aforementioned findings of the medical doctors there is no basis on which the minister may question the decision of the Parole Board.

”There remains no basis for a call for reviewing of the CSPB by the Parole Review Board,” the department said.

It was reported earlier that Shaik was seen driving himself around Durban.

The Democratic Alliance is taking legal advice on whether Shaik’s release on medical parole is reviewable. — Sapa