Schabir Shaik was 'correctly granted parole'

The Department of Correctional Services has defended the decision to grant medical parole to convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik, saying there was no basis for a review of the decision.

The Department of Correctional Services has defended the decision to grant medical parole to convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik, saying there was no basis for a review of the decision.

This follows weekend reports that Shaik was seen driving himself around Durban.

"Shaik was examined by three medical doctors who concurred that he qualified for parole in terms of Section 79 of the Correctional Services Act," the department said yesterday.

In terms of the Act, offenders who were in the final phases of a terminal illness could be placed on parole to die a consolatory death.

The decision of the three doctors was also subjected to scrutiny by the Health Professions Council of South Africa, which cleared them of any wrongdoing, the department said.

It added that the Act made no provision for re-incarceration of parolees who might have recovered or not died.

"An audit by Correctional Services revealed that about 36percent of parolees released on medical grounds do not die within 12 months of having been placed on parole.

"This means over 60percent of very sick offenders deemed to be on the death bed by medical doctors, had not died immediately after being placed on parole.

"Unfortunately, the complexity on making these determinations was serious, such that some of these parolees not only recovered but continued with acts of crime, some of which were aggressive and serious.

"Those that commit crime get re-incarcerated to finish their sentences. However, the law does not provide for re-arrest of any parolee whorecovers.

"Correctional Services wishes to repeat that legally there is no basis for raising questions about the decision of medical doctors that have gone through possibly the most intensive scrutiny to date.

"In terms of Section 75(8) of the Act, the decision of the Parole Board is final, except that the minister may refer the matter to the Review Board for reconsideration," said the department. - Sapa

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