Johannesburg - The children of convicted killer Omar Sabadia know that one day he will be paroled and walk out of Kgosi Mampuru Prison a free man, but they still deserve the right to be heard. "The proper procedure must be followed and the family are entitled to be heard," said Ahmed Suliman, a lawyer acting for Sabadia’s three children. They cannot be excluded and they are entitled to voice their objection."
The family were disappointed, he said, that they had not been consulted by the parole board ahead of Sabadia’s proposed release on Thursday. Sabadia has served nearly 22 years in prison for planning the murder of his wife, Zahida.
"The family have some sense of relief that Sabadia was not released. However, there is no doubt the matter was badly handled by the board," said Suliman.
"The family are aware that he cannot serve 50 years in prison. However, the Correctional Services Act provides that the proper procedure must be followed."
Sabadia was informed that he had to submit written representations to prison authorities by June 28 as to why he was entitled to parole. The former psychiatrist was told that he would be informed of developments in his case.
In 1996, the Johannesburg psychiatrist made headlines when he was arrested for hiring three hitmen - Albert Moeketsane, Richard Malema and Patrick Manyape - to kidnap his wife, murder her and leave her tied to a tree in the veld in GaRankuwa. Sabadia had planned to claim the R3million insurance policy he had taken out on his wife’s life.
Having served over 22 years of his 50-year sentence, Sabadia was eligible for parole. However, the intervention of his family has put his release on hold. Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Mocheta Monama said the family had been asked to take part in the process.
"As the department we take very seriously the aspect of victim participation towards restorative justice. In the case of Dr Sabadia, the family was invited to participate in the process. They indicated that they will not be available on the set date. However, the court order had to be obeyed. It was under these circumstances that the department applied for reconsideration of the decision by the parole board," he said.
Monama added that one of the hitmen, Moeketsane, was recommended for parole with Sabadia. The other two offenders, Malema and Manyape, were both released on parole, in 2009 and 2007 respectively. “The department has also applied for reconsideration on his case pending the outcome of the decision by the parole review board," said the spokesperson. He confirmed Sabadia would remain in prison while the review board studied its decision.
"The Department of Correctional Services (Gauteng region) has taken a decision to apply for the matter to be referred to the Correctional Supervision and Parole Review Board for reconsideration after a decision was taken by the review board on April 20 2018 to place Dr Omar Sabadia on parole effective from 20 June 2018. The decision of the parole board is therefore suspended pending the outcome of the decision by the review board," he said.
"Whenever any offender reaches his minimum detention period, his profile is forwarded to the parole board by the case management committee for consideration. Like any other offender, Dr Sabadia was considered for parole when he reached his minimum detention period. It is only now that the parole board felt he met all the requirements and therefore granted parole," said Monama.
The Saturday Star