Shaik could live 'if God wills it'

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

Schabir Shaik's life hangs in the balance and while his home environment provides a reprieve in the short term, sending him back to jail "will definitely kill him".

"I can assure you that he is gravely ill. His organs are failing. He could be back in hospital in no time if he is not given the care he is now receiving at home," said a close friend of the family.

"He has a full-time nurse taking care of him. He has two doctors visiting him. He is very sick. He could live but that is determined by God, not anyone else."

Mo Shaik, Schabir's brother, said the family had taken a decision "not to discuss" his brother with the media.

Chief operating officer for the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital, Nhlanhla Nkosi, confirmed

Sowetan's report yesterday which said that Dr DP Naidoo "had recommended medical parole" for Shaik in September last year.

"There is no other report in our possession that says anything different. Dr Naidoo stands by the report published in Sowetan."

The KwaZulu-Natal department of health also confirmed Sowetan's report, adding that Shaik was "very ill".

Shaik is at risk of a stroke, a heart attack and blindness, the department said.

The former financial advisor to Jacob Zuma, ANC's then deputy president, was released on medical parole last week after serving two years and four months of a 15-year sentence for fraud. Much of his time had been spent at hospital.

Department spokesman Leon Mbangwa said: "Shaik had been diagnosed with systematic hypertension as far back as 2001 at the age of 44 years."

"Doctors treating him had not been satisfied with his improvement over the period of time."

Mbangwa said that in a letter to the department of correctional services in May, they (the doctors) concluded Shaik be considered for medical parole, "after deciding the conditions within the prison hospital were sub-optimal to the kind of care required".

Asked whether Naidoo would face disciplinary action following conflicting media reports, Nkosi said discussions had been held with Naidoo and that, separate to the investigation by the Health Professions Council of SA, the hospital was undertaking its own "internal processes".