Shaik's medical reports uncovered

2010-01-15 09:29

Johannesburg - The Mail & Guardian on Friday released details of the medical reports which led to Schabir Shaik's controversial parole.

According to the report, a psychiatrist Dr Abubaker Gangat said Shaik's persistently high blood pressure had "potentially dire consequences for the eyes, kidneys, heart and brain" and that "organ damage to the eyes and kidneys is already present".

Gangat noted that Shaik had Severe Emotional Disorder combined with life-threatening physical disorders.

Shaik's private physician Dr Salim Gaffoor said Shaik had severe resistant hypertension with end organ damage.

'Die a dignified death'

His blood pressure remained high and, according to Gaffoor, his blood pressure would not be controlled while in prison.

These were annexed to a report to a Dr Ngenisile Mbanjwa.

The publication said it could not establish whether Mbanjwa had examined Shaik.

Mbanjwa recommended that Shaik be granted parole "to die a consolatory and dignified death" in terms of Section 70 of the Correctional Services Act.

She wrote a letter summarising her understanding of Shaik's medical condition for the parole board.

It read in part: "Based on all the medical reports from my colleagues/Independent Medical Practitioners concerning the inmate-patient's medical condition, all the investigations and medications the inmate-patient is on, the prognostic features and concurrently with end (final) stage multiple organ failure (terminating illness) due to uncontrolled or refactory hypertension despite multiple medications including psychiatric medications."

Not terminally ill

The newspaper also wrote that the parole board did not include a medical doctor and that only Shaik's psychiatrist was interviewed.

Gangat said that releasing Shaik was likely to lead to an improvement in his condition.

The publication sought an opinion from a medical consultant, who said that while Shaik was clearly not well, from the information available, he was not terminally ill.

The consultant commented that if he had severe visual problems, it would be inconsistent with Shaik driving a car, as he was seen doing after his release.

The Department of Correctional Services said it had sent Shaik a warning letter after he admitted to being out in public in contravention of his conditions of parole, and without informing his parole officer in December.

Shaik was released last March after being sentenced to 15 years in prison for fraud and corruption in a trial which partially focused on whether he had facilitated a bribe for President Jacob Zuma from a French arms company.

His application for a pardon was among over 300 that Zuma was considering.