Thursday 5 March 2009

Africa: SADC: South Africa: Corruption and Politics: Shaik (accused of a currupt relationship with ANC president) shakes off 15 year jail sentence

(Scripturelink Voters guide; Social Justice South Africa; IOL (Independent; South African; Secular) 03 / 03 / 2009; Letters sent to IOL (Independent; South African; Secular) on the 04 / 03 / 2009; IOL (Independent; South African; Secular) 04 / 03 / 2009; IOL (Independent; South African; Secular) 04 / 03 / 2009; 03 / 03 / 2009)

Article by Marc Aupiais

Shabir Shaik: convicted of having a "Generally Corrupt" relationship with the Ruling (with a majority capable of changing the constitution of SA, which has changed said constitution numerous times) ANC (African national Congress) President Jacob Zuma, has just been "permanently" let off a 15 year jail sentence for corruption, 2 days after a press release by Jacob Zuma, that he would pardon Shaik on possibly becoming president of South Africa.

"Shaik was sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2005 after he was convicted on two counts of corruption and one of fraud. This was based on evidence of a corrupt relationship between himself and then South African and ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma.

At the time of going to press on Monday night, there was a lot of activity at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban, where Shaik had spent a good deal of his incarceration."
(IOL (Independent; South African; Secular) 03 / 03 / 2009)

The ANC, largely backed by uneducated masses of South Africa, who suffer from lack of education, and basic resources: after over a decade of ANC rule, is mooted to win a majority, as usual in this year's elections. When a Constitutional challenge on election rules, preventing South Africans abroad from voting: hit: the ANC set the election date in April: this may well prevent the constitutional claim from succeeding. Millions of South Africans have left the country since 1994, due to openly racist business and other regulations set by the government: which has seen incalculable damage to South Africa's economy, due to a non-white skills shortage, and also the leaving of many South Africans due to crime, and a general perception among many: that whatever they want, the government will do as it desires.

Opposition parties have, in recent years, whether purposeful, or incidently: had the police used against them. DA leader Hellen Zille was arrested in Cape Town, by police, while objecting on crime. ANC offshoot: COPE, was prevented from taking to the streets, to campaign after a national congress, by Riot Police, as the ANC suddenly had a meeting nearby. No mention of Riot Police by the ANC talk was mentioned. With Voter intimidation in recent By-Elections, and ANC supporters alleged by the DA, to have been bussed in, and attempting to blockade a DA rally in a township, these are just some of the worries: not excluding murders in Kwazulu Natal; where IFP and ANC supports are alleged to have taken part in violence in previous elections. High ranking members of the ANC's Triparteid Alliance: have said that they will take up arms for Mr Zuma's cause, and there have been comments regarding what seems, for lack of adequate clarification like a physical annihilation of the DA (Democratic Alliance), South Africa's major opposition party.

According to the State, which has let Shaik off due to "depression", and "high blood Pressure", Shaik will not be sent back to jail, if these "symptoms" suddenly disappear. The State has also refused to release exactly what "terminal" condition Shaik has: only mentioning what could be signs of someone actually being in prison.

"It should be noted that in terms of section 75 (8) of the Correctional Services Act (Act 111 of 1998), the 'decision of the board is final' and can only be reviewed by the Correctional Supervision and Parole Review board, led by a judge," Wolela said."
( IOL (Independent; South African; Secular) 03 / 03 / 2009)

As the law requires a prisoner to be terminally ill to be released, it seems odd, that a terminal illness has not been mentioned. In fact, unless Shaik kicks the bucket within days, or weeks, it raises the question on HIV Positive prisoners, who have been denied parole until their last legs. Perhaps Shaik needs a change in diet, having spent most of his time in hospital, over what many may see as symptoms of stress, and being in jail.

IOL, probably South Africa's most reliable news source, has more to say, by airing letters sent on the issue, which I think are an interesting read:

Like many South Africans: who have seen so much in the interesting way in which ANC supporters of high rank usually don't feel too discomforted when faced with "prison", many South Africans seem suspicious. Others want more details: some think that fraudsters should not go to jail.

(Letters sent to IOL (Independent; South African; Secular) on the 04 / 03 / 2009)

IOL notes that the state is refusing to review the choice, or to give it up to review, despite the fact that the ANC controls the government, and: "Shaik was sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2005 on two counts of corruption and one of fraud, which, among other things, related to an alleged bribe he negotiated between Zuma and a French arms company. - Sapa"IOL (Independent; South African; Secular) 04 / 03 / 2009; IOL (Independent; South African; Secular) 04 / 03 / 2009). Zuma is president of the ruling ANC.

The African National Congress denies ( IOL (Independent; South African; Secular) 04 / 03 / 2009) any influence in the release of Shaik, while the DA, among others is seeking some form of action over the surprise the release of Shaik, due to his "High Blood pressure" "etc".

IOL quoted a source, which tries to get prisoners rights insured, it was noted that 2500 prisoners die a year, it seems these did not get this parole. Many prisoners have been subject to denials of medical parole, and it is probably a unique case, that Shaik should get it for depression and high blood ( 03 / 03 / 2009: IOL) pressure, with possible "chest pains". Why the public has been denied so much information on this case is odd, especially due to the following:

"32. Access to information
  1. Everyone has the right of access to
    1. any information held by the state; and
    2. any information that is held by another person and that is required for the exercise or protection of any rights.

  2. National legislation must be enacted to give effect to this right, and may provide for reasonable measures to alleviate the administrative and financial burden on the state."
(Bill of Rights, Chapter II of the Constitution of the "Republic of South Africa" 10 December 1996)

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