/ 21 December 2009

Minister waits on review of Shaik parole

Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula won’t ask the parole board to review Schabir Shaik’s parole yet, a spokesperson said on Monday.

The minister was still waiting for a report from the Department of Correctional Services in KwaZulu-Natal to ”test the veracity of the allegations published in the newspapers”, Sonwabo Mbananga said.

Sunday newspaper Rapport photographed Shaik shopping and visiting a luxury residential estate in Durban this week.

”There is no consideration at the moment by the minister to send the decision by the parole board for review,” Mbananga said. He said the minister’s office expected the department’s report on the matter during the week.

Shaik, who was convicted on two counts of corruption for having a ”generally corrupt” relationship with President Jacob Zuma, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He started his sentence in November 2006.

He was let out on parole on medical grounds in March this year. The minister of correctional services at the time, Ngconde Balfour, said he was released on parole as he was in ”the final stages of a terminal illness”.

He had only served two years and four months of his sentence — much of that in hospital — when he was carried into his house on a stretcher. Balfour said at the time the law allowed him to be released on parole so that he may die in peace and with dignity.

Shaik has reportedly been seen around Durban, where he lives, on numerous occasions, even playing golf.

According to the conditions of his parole, he is only allowed to leave his house between 10.30am and 12.30pm on Wednesdays to visit a physiotherapist, and to visit a mosque on Fridays and Saturdays between noon and 4pm.

Rapport took photos of Shaik at a Durban shopping centre and while he visited someone in a luxury security estate, The Essenwoods. He was driving his own BMX X6.

The paper reported that he chased after a photographer and swore at him in Afrikaans.

Shaik denied playing golf and visiting The Essenwoods. ”I am allowed to fetch my prescribed medicine at the pharmacy. I am allowed to visit the doctor. I am allowed to go to the bank. I only have to inform my correctional officer of what I have done,” he was quoted as saying.

The paper also reported that Shaik had started a close corporation (CC), Wethersfield Trading, only three months after he had been paroled. He owned 50% of the CC, while the other 50% was owned by Durban-based businessman Raymond Horne.

According to South African law anybody who has been found guilty of fraud or corruption and who has received a sentence of six months in prison without the option of a fine, may not be involved, either directly or indirectly, in the management of a CC.

Shaik denied his involvement in the CC and said Horne was his ”security advisor”.

Civil rights group AfriForum on Sunday lodged a complaint with the parole board against Shaik for allegedly violating his parole conditions.

”The charge that Shaik violated his parole conditions comes after the umpteenth media report that he drives around and even does shopping at times not allowed for by his conditions of parole,” said AfriForum deputy CEO Alana Bailey. — Sapa