The onerous restrictions of medical parole may have prompted Schabir Shaik to apply for ordinary parole.
But the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services has refused to reveal the motivation for Shaik’s application for a switch from medical to ordinary parole.
“The conditions of medical parole are very restrictive. It may be the reason why he wants ordinary parole, but he is going about it the wrong way,” a source said.
Shaik, a friend of, and former financial adviser to, President Jacob Zuma, served 28 months of his 15-year jail sentence for fraud and corruption.
He served most of his sentence in the St Augustine’s private hospital and the Inkosi Albert Luthuli state hospital.
He was given parole on medical grounds after his doctors told the parole board that he was terminally ill.
His doctors said he was also clinically depressed, losing his eyesight, had suffered a stroke, and would die from “severe” high blood pressure.
But, since then, he has been spotted shopping, dining at fancy restaurants and playing golf. The board allows him four hours of free time a week – cut from six hours after he was seen shopping outside his allotted time.
Ministerial spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga yesterday said there were no legal provisions which allowed conversion of medical parole.
Mhaga denied reports that Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha had been requested to convert Shaik’s parole. “The board had received the application and sent it to the department for advice. The department is now looking into this,” he said.
But the DA’s correctional services spokesman James Selfe yesterday asked Masutha to publicly deny that he would grant Shaik’s application. Selfe said that by making such a request, Shaik, admits that he was, in fact, not terminal.
Shaik’s lawyers have reportedly told the board that the convicted fraudster wants to travel, and is restricted by his medical parole conditions.