Shaik's brother fends off disappointed media

2009-03-03 00:00

Convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik spent his first day at home surrounded by family and friends after he was released on early parole because of his deteriorating health.

Shaik was released from the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital yesterday and taken by ambulance to his luxury home in Innes Road, Morningside. He managed to slip past journalists at the hospital and arrived at his home just after 8 am. His early parole was granted by the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board of the Durban-Westville management area, subject to normal parole conditions.

A local camera crew, who had camped outside his home on Monday night, caught a glimpse of Shaik being wheeled into his palatial house on a stretcher.

Yesterday, a large media contingent gathered outside the house for a peek of the ailing Shaik.

A security guard stood at the entrance of the property and allowed only Shaik’s wife Zuleika and Correctional Services officials in.

Neighbours joined journalists, many inquiring about Shaik’s health and whether he was inside the house.

A short while after Shaik’s brother, Yunis, arrived at the house, a security guard handed out cool drinks to journalists and photographers who had settled in with folding chairs.

Motorists driving past slowed down and asked about the crowd. Even the postman delivering mail to the house got caught up in the media frenzy. He smiled for pictures before handing over the mail to the security guard. Curious onlookers took pictures on their cellphones.

Yunis Shaik told journalists that his “gravely ill” brother was released on parole for medical reasons.

He said that while he does not want to comment on his brother’s medical condition, the family is taking advice from doctors.

Asked where Shaik will live during his recuperation, Yunis Shaik said the Innes Road house will remain his brother’s home for the next 15 years. He said the family will help with home care.

“Most of the time he is on heavy medication … He is sleeping inside the house,” he said.

Yunis Shaik said his brother has not been reunited with his extended family as they “did not want to run the gauntlet of journalists waiting outside”.

He said the parole board studied Shaik’s medical records and made its decision to release him.

“His release came as a surprise to the family. He was granted parole because of his medical condition and will follow the usual terms and conditions that apply to other prisoners,” he said.

Yunis Shaik said Shaik’s parole paperwork was completed at the hospital and Correctional Services supervisors visited the home yesterday to make sure he was following parole regulations. Medical parole is usually granted only to people who are terminally ill.

After the briefing, Yunis Shaik appealed to journalists to give his family privacy.

“Neighbours have complained about the media contingent outside the property. Doctors are also reluctant to visit because they are intimidated by the media,” he said.

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