Correctional officials to probe Shaik

2009-12-21 07:29

Johannesburg - Correctional service officials in KwaZulu-Natal started an urgent investigation on Sunday, after fresh allegations that the "terminally ill" fraudster Schabir Shaik has violated his parole and swore at a news photographer.

This follows reports and front page pictures on Sunday in the Rapport and City Press newspapers showing that Shaik had left his home in violation of the official hours of his parole. He was seen getting into a luxury black BMW X6 and driving around.

Shaik denies the allegations.

The acting district commissioner for the department of correctional services (DCS) in the province, Mnikelwa Nxele, confirmed on Sunday that he has ordered an urgent investigation.

"We can't see these types of stories and pictures in two big newspapers without investigating the matter. We must basically confront Mr Shaik and give him the opportunity to respond."

Nxele added that the two newspapers and their journalists might be approached for statements.

"We will also speak to him about the things he allegedly said. Strong language was used and I don't think we want to build a correctional system in South Africa which condones such behaviour. The allegations about what he said are serious."

According to Nxele, he plans to submit his report on Monday to the acting national chief of the DCS as well as the minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

Meanwhile, the DA will also ask Mapisa-Nqakula to investigate the matter and charge the parole board to review Shaik's medical parole.

'There's also no doubt that he isn't terminally ill...'

"It seems quite clear that Shaik has indeed violated his parole," said the DA's spokesperson regarding correctional services, James Selfe.

"In light of the irrefutable evidence, Shaik's release on medical parole must be revised, because he's making a mockery of the entire parole system."

"There's also no doubt that he isn't terminally ill now, and that he's quite simply waiting to be acquitted. The circumstances surrounding his release on medical parole must be reviewed now."

Selfe also said he considers Shaik's referral to him as a "poephol" as a "badge of pride".

The civil rights initiative, AfriForum, also submitted a complaint to the parole board on Sunday.

The organisation's deputy chief executive, Alana Bailey, said in a statement that the complaint is a result of "the numerous reports, and this time also photographic proof, which have appeared in the media, showing Shaik driving around and even shopping at times which violate his parole".

AfriForum insists that the complaint be investigated urgently, and that "forceful action be taken against Shaik".

"The behaviour of someone who was granted parole under dubious circumstances should be beyond suspicion at all times, but in Shaik's case, we see the exact opposite," said Bailey.

Pierre de Vos, a legal expert at the University of Cape Town, said the fact that Shaik is out and about now "gives very strong testimony that he was never in the final stages of a terminal illness, and the minister always has the prerogative to refer the matter to the parole appeals board".

"Only the minister has that power, which she hasn't used as of yet."