Shaik to be released

2009-03-03 00:00

SCHABIR Shaik, convicted former financial advisor to Jacob Zuma, is to be paroled on medical grounds.

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) confirmed this last night after being told of the decision by the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board of the Durban-Westville management area, said DCS spokesman Manelisi Wolela.

The exact reason for the decision to release 51-year-old Shaik, and when it will happen, was not made known.

The DCS was merely informed of the decision and is still awaiting a report from the board before it is able to comment, Wolela said.

The parole board’s decision is final and can be reviewed only by an appeal board led by a judge, said Wolela, adding that Shaik appeared before the parole board again “in March”.

Shaik has served less than two-and-a-half years of his 15-year sentence for fraud and corruption arising from his relationship with the ANC president.

Since reporting to the Westville prison in November 2006, Shaik has often been in the news for the treatment he is receiving in prison and the fact that he has often been in hospitals, including the private St Augustine’s in Durban.

His brother Mo said earlier this year that Shaik is suffering from chronic high blood pressure and that his condition has become resistant to medication, resulting in all his organs being affected.

Parole on medical grounds is usually granted only shortly before someone dies.

Mo Shaik said in an interview last night that he has heard “nothing official” from the DCS. Until he hears officially, he added, he will treat the news with “positive circumspection”. 

“We’ve been down this road before,” said Mo Shaik, and there is nothing more demoralising “than false hope”.

“I’m not even going to pass this news to Schabir’s wife … The last time there was such hope and it was betrayed, she become severely depressed.”

Yesterday, the family instructed their attorneys to find out how matters stand. “We were notified that his medical condition is serious,” said Mo Shaik, adding that it has been proved that acute high blood pressure causes complications in varying degrees.

Schabir Shaik’s wife Zuleika and two-year-old son Yasir Mohomed have visited him from time to time.

Mo Shaik declined to comment further on his brother’s medical condition, saying it is a “private matter” that could have “implications for medical aid”.

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