Will Shaik get a game?

2015-06-27 08:21
Schabir Shaik

Schabir Shaik

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Schabir Shaik has been asked to present details of his parole to an elite Durban country club as a condition for obtaining membership.

The convicted fraudster, who called the Durban Country Club’s course and facilities “superb and well-managed”, said becoming a member of the “historical” club will be part of trying to “normalise my life again”.

In a candid interview Shaik, who is fasting during Ramadaan, did admit that he “found it kind of strange” that the club is reviewing his membership after having already issued him a membership card and accepted his annual fees in full.

It was recently reported by Durban columnist William Saunderson-Meyer that a petition has been signed by about five dozen members. The column said there is a “groundswell” against Shaik being accepted on the basis that he will “bring the club into disrepute and tarnish its good name”.

But Shaik said there are a lot of good people at the club. “Everywhere in South Africa people either want to say hello or not associate with me. The club is a microcosm of the society. I must learn to deal with those who are resentful of me for whichever reason,” said Shaik.

He said he has been temporarily accepted and has played “several rounds of golf already”.

Shaik, who was released on medical parole in 2009 for being terminally ill after being convicted on multiple counts of fraud relating to the dodgy multibillion rand arms deal in 2005, had his medical parole conditions relaxed earlier this month. In March, he applied for normal parole, which will allow him to work and move around fairly unrestricted.

Shaik’s conviction led to then deputy president Jacob Zuma being sacked by then president Thabo Mbeki and charged by the National Prosecuting Authority on several hundred fraud charges. The DA is now trying to get the 2009 ruling to drop charges against Zuma, on the basis that the case was politically motivated, overturned.

“The club wanted a letter [about his parole conditions] stating that I can play at such facilities and that I am allowed to play golf. I have produced that letter and handed it to them.”

A person with knowledge of the club’s process when accepting membership, who asked not to be named, confirmed that Shaik was asked to submit his parole conditions. “In this instance, there is his history. He is high profile and has a court record against him. Members have spoken to him to provide his conditions of his parole,” said the club source.

The source said the club has an “obligation to anyone who wants to join the club”, providing they are proposed, with a seconder, by “members in good standing”. All membership applications are ratified by the board which is expected to meet in July.

The source said if his membership is rejected, there is no known recourse for Shaik to challenge the decision.

SHAIK, who said he plays off about a 14 handicap but was once on a six prior to his conviction, has on several occasions been accused of volatile behaviour, both on and off the golf course. In 2011, he allegedly slapped a journalist at the Papwa Sewgowlum Golf Course and allegedly assaulted a caddie at the same course in 2013.

Earlier this month, he told News24 journalist Giordano Stolley “I will kick you in the p**s!”, “I could have given you a headbutt” and “I will break you, white boy”.

Shaik acknowledged that his outbursts were the result of the “pressure” of being restricted, and admitted that these incidents could affect the parole application that he is seeking.

“There is always an inquiry [after reported incidents] and I must give my side of the story so it does give me some sort of pressure. Sometimes I don’t want to go out of my home but other days the pressure just gets to me.

“It has been nine years [since his conviction].

“I haven’t been able to work and I’m unable to make a living for myself.

“I can’t attend my child’s school functions. [Getting parole] will take some of the stress away.

“I am just trying to normalise my life again, trying to live a normal and productive life again, rehabilitate and move forward.”

HE said that before becoming associated with Jacob Zuma, “nobody knew me” and that he was doing “very well in business”.

“That association brought a lot of unwanted attention.

“It would all have gone well if the then president [Thabo Mbeki] and then deputy president’s [Zuma] relationship hadn’t fallen apart. That was when things really started to fall apart, not just for individuals, but for the country. Up and until about 2001/2, the country was running smoothly but then something entered Mbeki’s head. These two guys couldn’t see eye to eye.”

He said he was left to “choose between the president and deputy president, both senior comrades”.

“On the one side, I was asked to take Section 204 and stand as a state witness against the deputy president. But you have sworn your allegiance to the party and the leadership, but the leadership is fighting, so whose side do you take?”

Section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Act allows for a state witness to be granted full indemnity from prosecution providing the court considers the testimony honest.

“If I had taken the Section 204 and stood state witness against Zuma, I may not have gone to jail and saved all my money but I don’t know what the future would have held. I may have had to leave South Africa. But when I didn’t take the Section 204 I took the wrath of Mbeki and the power that he controlled, which in my view included the judiciary.

“In hindsight, I wonder if I took the right decision,” said Shaik

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