News24

Zuma considering Shaik's pardon

2009-12-21 14:22

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma was considering convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik's application for a pardon, a spokesperson said on Monday.

Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said Shaik had applied for pardon and it was being considered by the president.

"The president is considering a number of applications and Shaik's is among them," said Magwenya.

"His application is not enjoying any special consideration."

Magwenya said there was no deadline for Zuma to make a decision.

"The president is not obligated to keep to any specific timeline. The Constitution allows him to grant a pardon when he has considered all the facts before him."

Shaik was convicted for having a "generally corrupt" relationship with Zuma while Zuma was deputy president. The matter related to South Africa's arms deal with the French weapons company Thint.

Shaik was sentenced to 15 years in prison and started his prison sentence in November 2006.

He was released on parole on medical grounds for being in the "last stages of a terminal illness" in March, but a Sunday newspaper photographed him driving around and shopping in Durban during the week.

He reportedly chased after the newspaper's photographer, swearing at him in Afrikaans.

Speaking to the newspaper, Shaik demanded a pardon.

The newspaper Rapport quoted him saying that as long as he remained a prisoner, "other people are equally guilty".

"Why should I ask for pardon at all? If three people were part of a so-called plot to elicit money out of the French, why are the French free, why is the president free and why is Shaik still a prisoner? Come on!" he said.

Magwenya said Shaik's pardon application was among "hundreds" of others, including those of former Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock and hundreds of IFP supporters who were still serving sentences for political violence.

He declined to comment on Shaik's statement on why he was in prison, while the president was still free.