Body has no right to speak on issue

Mary Papayya, Canaan Mdletshe and Kingdom Mabuza

Mary Papayya, Canaan Mdletshe and Kingdom Mabuza

The family of Schabir Shaik yesterday dismissed suggestions that they were considering medical parole as an option to free the ailing businessman from prison.

Shaik is serving 15 years for fraud and corruption but has spent much of his time in prison at St Augustine's Hospital in Durban because of ill health.

The prisoners' rights organisation Justice for Prisoners and Detainees Organisation (JPDO) told Sowetan yesterday that they had met with Shaik in his isolation ward on Monday.

Derrick Mdluli, the JPDO's provincial spokesman, said the discussion was over Shaik receiving medical parole, "which we believe he deserves".

Mdluli expressed concern over Shaik's physical wellbeing, saying "he is really sick".

He said: "We will make recommendations in this regard to prison authorities as well as Correctional Services Minister Ngconde Balfour."

Mdluli said he would meet Shaik's family and lawyer within the next two days.

Shaik's brother Yunis told Sowetan yesterday that the JPDO was not authorised to make statements on his brother's behalf.

"We have been trying to contact Mdluli because we believe that his statements, as reported in the media, are to an extent inappropriate but we want to get it from him firsthand. He is not authorised to speak on behalf of our brother.

"We have not considered the matter of medical parole and we are not scheduled to meet with the JPDO," said Yunis.

"He is right about one thing - my brother is very sick," he said.

Schabir Shaik's lawyer, Neeves Parsee, said: "I never heard of or met with Mdluli. At present we are busy with a constitutional court appeal to free Shaik.

"The aspect of medical parole is not up to us. It is up to the hospital and the parole board. It is for the doctors to file a report with the prisons authorities."

The SA Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights (Sapohr) questioned the authenticity of the JPDO.

"As far as we can recall, Mdluli was a chairperson of Sapohr in KwaZulu-Natal. His sudden jumping of the ship was unprocedural," said Sapohr boss Miles Bhudu.