Angry Shaik demands his pardon

2009-12-21 00:00

SCHABIR Shaik wants his “f***ing pardon” and he wants it now.

Breaking his silence for the first time since he was granted medical parole nine months ago, Shaik told City Press on Friday that as long as he remains a “prisoner ... other people are equally guilty”.

Referring to President Jacob Zuma and French arms company Thint, he questioned “how come people that should have been charged are declared free to walk around and the man at the centre of things is still serving house arrest”.

“Why should I even be asking for a pardon. If three people were part of a so-called plot to elicit funds from the French?

“Why are the French free, why is the President free and why is Shaik still sitting as a convict? C’mon!

“Surely these are the kind of questions you should be asking rather than following me around and possibly getting f**ked up when you do meet me, because I can take only so much.

“I’m not scared of going to jail.

“I’ve survived in jail, my friend, with the heads of 28 and the heads of 26 gangs.

“I’m not scared of going to jail as the DA thinks.

“Why the f***k doesn’t (Democratic Alliance leader Helen) Zille go to jail and see if she can handle a day.

“Or that other poephol [a******e] James Selfe, (the DA’s spokesman on Correctional Services).

Shaik denies numerous reports about his violating parole.

“I’m allowed to go and collect my pharmaceuticals from the chemist. I’m allowed to go and see the doctor. I’m allowed to go to the bank. All I’ve got to do is inform my correctional officer, which I have done.

“I’ve been seen playing golf at the country club and at the July handicap. I’ve never been to a July in my life. I don’t even like f***ing racehorses.

“Then I’m seen running through the bushes at a shopping centre. If you see me running, take a photograph of me. I’m not going to hide. I ran towards your photographer. I’m not going to run through the bushes where black mambas will bite me.”

Asked whether he was terminally ill, he said: “I can tell you I’m not the Shaik that used to work 16 hours a day running around cutting huge deals. I can’t do that anymore.”

He says he suffers from “uncontrollable stress”, but “being home, just seeing the greenery, feeling the sun, getting fresh air, having good food; that alone allows recuperation”.

“That helps me reduce my stress and, to some extent, my recovery.

Shaik claims he is going blind, yet he still manages to drive around Durban in his BMW X6.

He says he has “grade four retinopathy” — the retina of his eyes have apparently been damaged as a result of high blood pressure — is “going blind”, has kidney and heart problems and consequently “what you have, my brother, is these serious organs sustaining serious damage and they, in turn, are going to terminal failure”.

“The eyes are failing, the heart is failing and the kidneys are failing.”

In the same breath, he said the Correctional Services Department has released statistics indicating that “somewhere in the order of 6 000 people that were released [on medical grounds] have recovered”.

“You don’t release a person so they can go home and die.”

Asked how he manages to drive, Shaik said: “It is not easy. I don’t drive all the time. I have got glasses. I spend a fortune on glasses, they change all the time. My eyes are not improving. I’m on Goji berries now. Someone told me that with them I’ll make a miraculous recovery. I’m f***ing gorging Goji berries till I’m sh***ing the things out hoping my eyesight will improve, but it isn’t.”

He said he would not release his medical records for public scrutiny because it is his “constitutional right” to keep them private. “I don’t want people getting to know about my medical condition anymore than you.”

He claims he has been ruined financially and “sustained substantial losses in excess of R200 million”.

“My legal fees alone were R28 million … You are talking about a man who once had a balance sheet of assets in excess of R4 billion.”

He confirmed that he was doing “small renovations” to his house. The BMW X6, he said, is “not a huge expense. It is owned by the bank and I pay the bank each month.”

He is writing a book, he said, in which he “wants to tell the truth as I see it. South Africa has been hoodwinked about the arms deal. President Zuma’s legacy must be corrected. I want my son to have his dad’s truth.”

He said Zuma should “never even have been tried”.

“Mbeki made Zuma and I the fall guys ... The decision to find me guilty was made before I even stepped into court and they had to find Shaik guilty to get Zuma removed as deputy president.

“It is not easy, my brother. Sometimes you wish you were back in prison, sitting in your cell, locked up at 2.30 am. Now you are out in the real world and the real issues are not being addressed.

“It is depressing, but I must keep my head above water. I can’t just sit back and say I want to die now.

“I’ve got a son who looks forward to being with his dad.”

June 2, 2005:

Schabir Shaik is convicted in the high court in Durban on two counts of corruption and one of fraud relating to bribes involving then deputy president Jacob Zuma. Shaik was Zuma’s financial adviser and confidante.

June 8, 2005

Shaik is sentenced to 15 years in prison.

March 3, 2009

Shaik is paroled on medical grounds after serving two years and four months of his sentence. He arrives home on a stretcher reportedly suffering from high blood pressure, depression and chest pains. Amid a growing outcry, then Correctional Services minister Ngconde Balfour describes Shaik as being “in the final phase of his terminal condition”.

April 20

The doctors who recommended that Shaik be released on medical parole are cleared by the Health Professions Council (HPCSA) of allegations that they behaved unethically and unprofessionally. HPCSA registrar Boyce Mkhize tells the media that medical reports “reveal a gravely serious medical condition of Mr Shaik” and that the reports by doctors are “not exaggerated, misrepresented or falsified”.

May 20

The DA asks for a parole board review of the decision to grant Shaik medical parole.

May 21

Shaik’s brother Yunis says his condition is not improving. “His condition cannot improve because there is permanent damage to him.”

May 25

Shaik and a Durban businessman register a new close corporation, Wethersfield Trading CC.

August 3

Mail & Guardian reporter Niren Tolsi runs into Shaik at a 24-hour petrol station shortly after midnight. Shaik reportedly tells him: “I am working towards better health.”

August 10

eThekwini DA councillor Dean MacPherson expresses shock after seeing Shaik in Durban’s Musgrave area buying balloons next to the side of the road. “He looked perfectly healthy,” MacPherson said. The councillor released a grainy cellphone video of Shaik’s car to the media. Shaik was not visible.

August 13

Correctional Services spokesman Thami Zondi says Shaik denies driving the car. “It is a family car that could be used by anyone,” Zondi says.

August 19

Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says there will be no review of Shaik’s medical parole because she received no proof he had gone out in his car.

October 19

The Presidency confirms for the first time that Shaik applied for a presidential pardon on April 24 last year.

October 22

A Durban newspaper reports that Shaik played a round of golf at the Papwa Sewgolum course in Reservoir Hills and has regularly been seen there.

10 December

Mapisa-Nqakula tells Parliament that Shaik denied playing golf that day. She says tthe department has received no formal complaints alleging that Shaik has violated his parole.

1 5 December

A City Press reporter witnesses Shaik breaking his parole.

16 December

A City Press photographer snaps Shaik breaking his parole.

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