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19 Oct 2009 13:12
Fraud convict Schabir Shaik applied for a presidential pardon in April last year, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday.
The Presidency had confirmed to the DA that it had received an application from Shaik for a presidential pardon on April 24 2008, DA spokesperson James Selfe said.
However, the Presidency could not confirm the status of that application.
“If President [Jacob] Zuma grants this application it will constitute a decisive step toward the complete corruption of the South African soul,” Selfe said in a statement.
Shaik’s conviction constituted a rare victory for the South African justice system in the fight to keep “a relentless ruling party, which is determined to bend the rule of law to its own will, at bay”.
If his actions were pardoned, it would signify to the South African public that, even when the justice system prevailed, its impact was undermined, its ruling negated and its meaning subverted.
“Under no circumstances must the president consider this application. He must be open with the South African public and immediately deny that he will grant Mr Shaik’s application.
“Not to do so would [cause] further speculation and fuel the perception that he is looking on this request favourably,” Selfe said.
Regulations required that an individual wanting to apply for a presidential pardon should first apply to the justice minister.
That application was then forwarded on to the Presidency.
This had to happen because the Justice Department was responsible for motivating to the Presidency either in favour of or in opposition to the application.
It thus appeared that the Justice Department had already considered or was in the process of considering Shaik’s application.
The law also stated that an applicant should meet certain criteria to qualify—he should have served a significant part of his sentence, for example, or have shown remorse for his crime.
“Schabir Shaik has demonstrated none of these things.
Shaik was released from his 15-year sentence for corruption after serving only two years inside, on the ground that he was terminally ill, and was let out of jail to die a humane and peaceful death.
He has reportedly been seen since driving himself around Durban, and was reported to have been visiting restaurants there.
“Schabir Shaik and those loyal to him in the ANC government have done everything in their power to dilute the effect of his sentence and undermine the impact of the guilty judgement handed down against him,” Selfe said.
“For Shaik to be pardoned would be a travesty of justice, and would further highlight the ANC government’s utter disrespect for the constitutional principle of the rule of law.”—Sapa, I-Net Bridge
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