Parties slam early release

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Opposition parties reacted with mixed feelings at the early release of Durban businessman Schabir Shaik on medical parole.

"The purpose of medical parole is to release terminally ill offenders so that they can die a dignified and consolatory death in the presence of their family and friends," said DA correctional services spokesperson James Selfe.

Selfe and ID leader Patricia de Lille, pictured, said many prisoners were suffering from terminal illnesses and had not been granted medical parole.

De Lille asked: "What about the thousands of other prisoners that were never fairly assessed by the parole boards even though some of them were in the final stages of terminal illness?"

ACDP spokesperson on correctional services Hendry Cupido said his party had no objection to the release of Shaik, but trusted that the department had followed the correct procedures.

"The number of inmates dying in prison is very high in comparison to those being released on medical parole," Cupido said.

The IFP said Shaik's release "came as no surprise as it proves that if a person is an ANC comrade anything is possible".

IFP correctional services spokesperson Sybil Seaton said Shaik's stint in prison was a farce and a waste of taxpayers' money.

"It is really a sad day for our fight against crime and corruption when a convicted fraudster is able to manipulate the system in such a way that he is released after serving only two years and four months of a 15-year term."