Shaik had permission to ‘recuperate’ in luxury retreat

2010-01-08 14:18

Corruption parolee Schabir Shaik was given permission by his parole officer to recuperate in a luxury lodge following his release from prison last year, the Department of Correctional Services said on Friday.

“He did get permission from his correctional services officer at that time,” said Sonwabo Mbananga, in response to a Mail&Guardian report that Shaik spent three nights at the Thanda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal in June.

This was based on motivation by a medical doctor who recommended that it would be good for his recuperation. The department did not pay for it.

Shaik was released from prison last year, after serving a sentence relating to the facilitation of a bribe to President Jacob Zuma in an arms deal, on the grounds of terminal illness.

Various public “Shaik sightings” have upset opposition parties who believe he is receiving political favour.

However, Mbananga said that Shaik had admitted to being out in public twice beyond his parole hours and without informing his parole officer.

Mbananga said these related to being spotted at a garage, and speaking to a journalist.

As a “phase two” prisoner, and not “phase one” as suggested by the opposition DA, he was given a written warning that should he violate his parole conditions again, “he would be re-accommodated at a correctional services facility”.

His going-out hours have also been reduced from time for Mosque on Friday and between noon and 4pm on Saturday, limiting him to between noon and 2pm on Sunday.

“We curtailed his free time ... we have given him an official warning.”

Mbananga said that as long as Shaik’s parole officer was informed that he intended venturing out beyond these hours, and permission was granted, he would be covered.

This applied to all parolees, and those who felt treated unfairly, should lodge a complaint.

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