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Zuma to visit prisoner Schabir

By unknown | Nov 10, 2006 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

As Schabir Shaik began his prison sentence yesterday, his family again came out in support of his innocence.

The family said what Shaik did was out of a deep commitment and loyalty.

"We will forever believe in Schabir's innocence and the fact that his actions, which were deemed criminal by the courts, were out of love, loyalty and comradeship."

The family said the past few years since the investigation on Shaik began had been extremely harrowing for him and for his family. The trauma of his trial, conviction, appeal process and imprisonment has been exacerbated by the intense media coverage, which at times bordered on "harassment".

"Now that Schabir has been incarcerated, we appeal to the media to allow us to grieve the tragedy that has befallen our family. We have nothing further to say on this matter and implore the media to let us be."

The Shaiks have asked that queries regarding this issue should be directed to the Department of Correctional Services.

Shaik began his prison term at the Qalakabusha Prison in Empangeni on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast. Qalakabusha means "starting afresh".

The prison was built in 2000 in an effort to curb the overcrowding in state prisons. It accommodates about 1392 prisoners and caters for two prisoners in each cell.

At this stage it is not clear whether or not Shaik will be granted early parole.

Correctional Services spokesman Luphumzo Kebeni said the parole options for Shaik depended on a variety of conditions.

Kebeni said: "Parole is not a free-for-all. Shaik, like any other offender, will have to spend a certain time within the prisons' rehabilitation programme before he is considered for parole.

"It is up to our case management committee to do a risk and profile assessment on a prisoner and then put the recommendation for early parole before the chairman of the parole board.

"If satisfied the parole board will recommend the options. Generally prisoners qualify for parole once they have served half or a third of their sentence."

On Monday the supreme court of appeal in Bloemfontein dismissed Shaik's appeal against his conviction on two charges of corruption and one of fraud.

Shaik was convicted in July last year in the Durban high court by Judge Hilary Squires and sentenced to 15 years in jail.

The fraud relates to Shaik's writing-off of R1,2million of his companies' debts to hide payments made to former deputy president Jacob Zuma.

Squires ruled that Shaik had a "generally corrupt" relationship with Zuma. Shaik was Zuma's former financial advisor.

On the night before he went into prison, Zuma and Shaik had an hour-long chat over the telephone.

"Zuma is in Johannesburg and promised to visit Shaik when he returns to KwaZulu-Natal," said a family relative.


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