‘I’m very happy to be out’

2013-06-20 00:00

A GOOD bath. That’s the first thing Sifiso Cedric Shezi said he would do yesterday after spending 10 years behind bars for a crime he seemingly did not commit.

“I’m still confused. It feels like a dream,” the 39-year-old said as he left Westville Prison in Durban.

Shezi was convicted of raping his daughter. But Pinky Dube, now 18, has admitted she framed her father.

Dube, who was eight at the time, claims to have been coached by her mother, Khulile Dube, who died in 2007, to say that her father had raped her on four different occasions.

Shezi has been released on bail while he takes his matter to a higher court to have his conviction overturned. But his time in jail and the last four years, spent securing his release, became a distant memory during a jubilant reception with family and friends.

“I’m very happy to be out. Life is very difficult in prison. God showed his power. I never thought I would see this day alive,” Shezi told journalists.

The waiting party ended up gathering at a Sasol filling station a good distance from the prison, after Correctional Services bosses told members of the media they couldn’t film outside the prison.

Shezi said he felt no bitterness towards his daughter and her family. “She was just a child and children do what their mothers tell them to do,” he said. He said he had ended up joining gangs in prison, fearing he might end up dead because of violence. “I ended up losing some of my teeth because of that violence.”

The first thing he planned to do following his release was to have a good bath, he said.

His daughter, who stood alongside her dad while he held her two-year-old son, broke down in tears and declined to comment further.

Earlier, she had told City Press that she wanted to ask for his forgiveness. She said they had visited her father in prison and they had spoken over the phone but never directly about what had happened.

Shezi’s lawyer, Lindokuhle Mdletshe, said he had been released on bail. He said they had been granted leave to appeal by the Supreme Court of Appeal and planned to lead the new evidence to have his conviction overturned.

As to whether Shezi planned to sue the state, he said he would consult his client for instructions.

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