Schabir Shaik File Photo: Masi Losi

Convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik is enjoying the benefits of substantially relaxed parole conditions, KwaZulu-Natal Correctional Services regional commissioner, Mnikelwa Nxele, has confirmed.

He said on Monday Shaik had been classified as a low-risk category prisoner with regard to his parole conditions.

His free hours have now been extended to four a day, from Monday to Thursday, free hours on a Friday and extended hours on a Saturday and Sunday.

Nxele said: “From Monday to Thursday, he has free hours from 1pm until 5pm. The free hours on a Friday, from 10am to 7pm are to accommodate his religious needs. On Saturday, the free hours are from 11am to 7pm and Sunday from noon until 10pm.”

When Shaik was released on medical parole in 2008, he was allowed to leave his Morningside, Durban, home, for six hours every Saturday, between 11am and 5pm.

In addition he was allowed four hours on Fridays to attend prayers at his mosque.

However, in December 2009, Shaik had four hours slashed from his six-hour free time allocation after he was spotted shopping in Durban, well outside his permitted free time.

Shaik was also prohibited from visiting his doctor’s rooms. Instead, all his medical consultations had to be conducted at his home or at a place decided by his parole officer.

Nxele said Shaik was still monitored by his parole officer who regularly reported his progress to the department.

“Initially he was visited every week by the parole officer. But, this, too, has been reduced to monthly visits. He has been on the parole list for a while now and understands the rules. He has not breached any of his conditions.”

Last month, Shaik also benefited from the special remission of sentence, announced by President Jacob Zuma on April 27. This will see his 15-year sentence reduced by 18 months.

With the special remission of sentence, Shaik is scheduled to be a free man on May 20, 2020.

In his bid for earlier freedom, Shaik applied for a presidential pardon in April 2008. Four years on, and he had not received word on his application, a source said.

Speaking from Mexico on Monday, presidential spokesman, Mac Maharaj, said Shaik was not the only prisoner in the country waiting for a presidential pardon. “The Minister of Justice is responsible for motivating to the Presidency either in favour or in opposition to the application,” Maharaj said.

Department of Justice spokeswoman, Pumla Sekhonyane, said Shaik’s pardon was still being processed. Once completed, it would be sent to the Presidency, she said.

In 2005, the Durban High Court sentenced Shaik to 15 years in prison for fraud and corruption. His sentence effectively ends in 2021.

In March 2009, he was released on medical parole after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. He served two years and four months of his sentence, mainly in hospital.

Criminologist Professor Rudolph Zinn said the latest move on his medical parole was a mockery of the justice system.

“It is clear that various processes are being manipulated to ensure that Shaik gets as much freedom as possible. It is a miscarriage of justice and undermines the confidence of the masses in the justice system. In his case justice is just not being served.”

He said when Shaik was released on medical parole five years ago, his condition was described by prison authorities as life threatening.

“Prisoners should only be released on medical parole if the State cannot provide them with care or if they are dying. In my view, medical paroles should be reviewed. If Shaik is well enough to go to mosque or play golf then his parole should be reviewed and he should be sent back to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence.

“This abuse of medical parole has also resulted in many high profile prisoners evading prison cells. The regulations governing medical parole need to be reviewed.”

Daily News