Sheik Airs His Views
Zuma's financial manager, Schabir Shaik had some therapeutic interviews on Radio 702 and Cape Talk about noseweek and our report that he had allegedly "paid off" a young lady to withdraw a rape charge against the deputy president's son Mziwoxolo (nose49).
In the course of the interviews he unburdened himself of some his deepest fears and feelings about "whiteys" and noseweek in language that had drive-time listeners pulling up on the pavement.
(Sensitive readers are asked to please skip the next paragraph rather than cancel their subscriptions.)
noseweek is f**ing racist, Shaik told listeners to Chris Gibbon's show on 702; noseweek is f**ing trash publication, connected to "certain structures". Best of all, having himself just been ordered by the high court to pay defence software expert Richard Young R150 000 in defamation damages, plus even more in legal costs, Shaik told Gibbonhe is going to get rich suing noseweek. Radio listeners haven't been so entertained for months. A recording of the interview was replayed half a dozen times by popular demand.
Next day Shaik and noseweek editor Martin Welz met on Tim Modie's show. Now Shaik's calm and considered demeanour prompted Welz to ask him if he'd taken a pill to calm himself. Yes, he said.
And, said Welz, Shaik looked "pretty white" himself. Yes, admitted Shaik, his grandmother was an Afrikaner. In the course of the discussion, it emerged that noseweek's ‘s reporter had sent Shaik three emails setting out the gist of our proposed "rape payoff" report and asking him for comment. He had responded to none.
On radio Shaik now declared he had never met the alleged rape victim, and neither he nor any of his companies had ever employed or paid her anything. He offered to pay for a forensic audit of his books to prove it. In response Welz assured him that had he given our reporter these denials, they would have been included in our report.
Shaik then went on to claim that his former co-director Sabeer Sheik - one of the major sources quoted in our story - had been fired from their company for dishonesty when a forensic audit revealed that he had "inflated" invoices. Shaik claimed Sheik had also been fired from his previous job in the department of transport for insubordination, but that the director general of transport had still recommended him for the job with Shaik's company, which was posed to get major toll road contracts from the department.
Welz assured Shaik that noseweek would most certainly have investigated these claims before publishing its report - if he had told us about them. Sheik is abroad, but is expected back in SA soon.
(We will canvass these issues with him on his return.)
In the radio interviews Shaik made no mention of another former employee quoted in our story, his former personal assistant Bianca Singh. We will follow tht up soon. Meantime all is forgiven. Shaik says he may yet subscribe to noseweek.
The truth remains elusive. A minor role player in our story may yet, it now emerges, have the most legitimate complaint. Attorney Linda Mazibuko represented the alleged rape victim at the time of the incident and for some months thereafter. He communicated the girl's change of heart about the complaint she had laid, to the prosecutor, so persuading him to withdraw the charges. On checking our reporter's records, we find that Mazibuko told us, when we asked him if he was aware of a settlement agreement that had been reached between Zuma's son and the alleged rape victim:
"Yes, I am only aware of it, I have no knowledge [of its content]. I'm not sure how it was settled, but it was."
Was there any payment by Schabir Shaik to the girl? we asked.
"I'm not aware, only know there was an agreement, not what it was. Maybe, but I'm not sure," replied Mazibuko. He was aware she had found a job in Durban.
Finally we asked him if he had handled any money for the girl. His answer was a very emphatic "No!".
Our report that he was unwilling to divulge details of a settlement agreement reached with Schabir Shaik - implying he might know such details - was, therefore incorrect. We regret the error.
With acknowledgements to Noseweek.