Emotional apology as his new life begins

Canaan Mdletshe

Minutes before being taken to his cell yesterday, convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik made an emotional apology to his family.

Emerging from the Durban high court yesterday morning after turning himself in to begin his sentence, Shaik spent a few moments with his wife, Zuleika, his brothers Mo and Yunus, and his lawyer, Reeves Parsee, before speaking briefly to the media.

"I would like to say I'm sorry to my family, to my brothers and sisters, and especially to my wife and son for the trauma I have put them through," Shaik said.

"To all the reporters that I gave hard time to, I apologise.

"My heart is at peace now and I will walk in God's path," he said.

Throughout his speech, Shaik looked down and avoided eye contact with his wife, who was holding his hand. The couple have a six-month-old son, Yasir.

Shaik was taken to Westville Prison in a police van. He was met by a contingent of journalists, his relatives, a small group of supporters and more than 30 policemen, some with dogs.

Wearing a white golf shirt, blue jeans and black takkies, Shaik managed a smile and waved to his supporters and the media as he made his way to his new home.

Once inside the prison gates, Shaik, his brothers, his wife, his brother-in-law and Parsee went into the prison building.

After about an hour, the family emerged, waved to the media and drove off.

"No questions please, and give his wife some rest for the next two days at least," said one family member as the car left.

By noon yesterday the final arrangements were in place for Shaik to be transferred to the newly built Qalakabusha Prison in Empangeni on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast.

Qalakabusha Prison is reportedly to be preferred to the elderly Westville.