Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Shaik’s parole ‘may be revoked’
March 15 2011 at 07:37am
By Gugu Mbonambi, Wendy Jasson Da Costa and Deon De Lange
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Convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik, in the back seat of a Correctional Services car, is driven away from his luxury Morningside, Durban, home to Westville Prison. Picture: Marilyn Bernard
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Shaik’s parole could be cancelled
Two years ago convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik was released from prison amid much controversy.
On Monday he was back behind bars – at least for 72 hours.
He will know within days whether his medical parole conditions under house arrest will be tightened or if he will spend the remainder of his 15-year sentence in prison.
Shaik was taken from his luxury Morningside townhouse to Westville Prison following reports that he had allegedly assaulted a fellow devotee after Friday prayers at the Masjid Al-Hilal mosque in Overport.
The latest incident came two weeks after Sunday Tribune journalist Amanda Khoza laid a charge against Shaik for assault, arising from her attempts to investigate whether he was breaking his parole conditions by playing golf on a Saturday.
Shaik told The Mercury on Sunday that reports that he had assaulted a fellow worshipper were half-truths. The Daily News quoted several witnesses as saying Shaik had not been the “aggressor”.
Correctional Services Department spokesman Sonwabo Mbananga told The Mercury that the department could reimprison a parolee if it suspected they might have violated parole conditions.
Following the two incidents, “the decision was taken that we rather not wait for the police investigation into the first incident (involving Khoza), but for us to investigate thoroughly and see if the parole conditions may have been breached by the parolee”.
Shaik would be held in jail for 72 hours and it was hoped the investigation would be completed within this period.
“By then the parolee (Shaik) may be able to appear before the parole board. The board will decide, based on the investigation, whether there are grounds to act or amend his parole condition, or cancel his parole altogether.”
Mbananga said the decision to reimprison Shaik had been taken by the KwaZulu-Natal correctional services commissioner and was supported by Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
In the interests of the public the reported incidents were reason enough to reimprison Shaik, and the department “must be seen doing its job in executing its mandate”.
Shaik’s brothers, Moe and Yunus, referred The Mercury to his lawyer, who did not respond to messages for comment.
The National Assembly’s correctional services committee chairman, Vincent Smith (ANC), said Shaik would be released after 72 hours under his existing parole conditions.
The investigator’s report would be handed to the parole supervision board, which would then decide if Shaik’s conditions should be “tightened or revoked”.
The board had between 14 and 17 days to make a decision.
Smith said he would write to the relevant authority to forward the final report to his committee so that it could also comment on the matter.
“If there’s a law in the land it must be applied to everybody, so we welcome the fact that it is being acted upon.”
Shaik was convicted on two counts of corruption and one of fraud in 2005. He served only two years and four months of his 15-year sentence, spending most of the time in hospital because of high blood pressure, depression and chest pains.
He was granted medical parole in March, 2009 by then correctional services minister Ngconde Balfour, after his doctors found he was in the final phase of a “terminal condition”.
Later that year Nqakula imposed restrictions on Shaik’s parole conditions after reports that he had violated his parole by shopping and visiting a luxury residential estate.
Among the restrictions was that Shaik was no longer allowed to visit his doctor’s rooms, with consultations to be conducted at his home. His daily free time was reduced from six hours to two, but his attendance at prayers at a mosque on Fridays was not affected.
But in August, 2010 his conditions were relaxed again.
Opposition parties welcomed Shaik’s “arrest”.
DA MP James Selfe said: “It is clear that Shaik has egregiously breached his parole conditions on at least three occasions. This incident … (and others) demonstrates quite clearly that Mr Shaik has not been rehabilitated and is a danger to those around him.”
It was clear Shaik was “not even remotely in the final stage of a terminal illness”, the grounds on which he was paroled in the first place, Selfe said.
Cope MP Phillip Dexter said it was time “for people like Shaik to realise that the rule of law applies to all South Africans”.
It was also time that “the same law was applied to all who walk in the corridors of power”.
ID MP Haniff Hoosen said Shaik had “conducted himself as an ‘untouchable’ and had managed to dupe the government into believing that he was gravely ill”.
“We trust that Mr Shaik is now in excellent health after all the golf that he has played, and can now serve out the remaining term of his sentence.”
FF+ MP Pieter Groenewald said it was “high time” the authorities acted against Shaik because he was “an embarrassment for correctional services and his arrogant behaviour proves that he believes himself to be above the law”.
“It is also clear that (Shaik) is not terminally ill and should therefore return to prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence.
“If this does not happen, it will simply provide further proof that inmates with the right political connections and party affiliations receive preferential treatment,” said Groenewald. - The Mercury
Comments by Sonny
This public "Shaikdown" of a 'National Fraudster' is just another ANC proxy to gain criminal votes in the coming municipal elections!
Discrimination against Coloured & Indians does not apply here!