Publication: Sunday Times Issued: Date: 2004-10-03 Reporter: Mzilikazi wa Afrika

Smuggling for the Struggle



Sunday Times

Date 2004-10-03


Mzilikazi wa Afrika

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During the apartheid era, Schabir Shaik was known as the banker for the ANC.

As an Umkhonto weSizwe operative, Shaik used to smuggle millions into the country to fund the armed struggle.

His job was to get international funds flowing secretly to his brother Mo’s covert spy unit which reported to Deputy President Jacob Zuma, the head of the ANC’s intelligence unit at the time.

Schabir Shaik and his family set up numerous front companies to move money around unnoticed by the security police.

One of the main front companies was at the Cawood Centre in Durban where Shaik had an office.

Shaik claimed in an interview last September that he used to smuggle more than R100-million a year.

Ten years into democracy, he still handles vast sums of money but this time he is known as the banker for Zuma. He is making millions of rands through multiple subsidiaries of his company, Nkobi Holdings, which he founded out of a coffee shop in 1995.

It is his success in landing lucrative government deals ­ particularly the arms deal ­ that seems to have got him into trouble with the Scorpions.

Shaik’s close relationship with top politicians, especially Zuma, will come under the spotlight during his trial in the Durban High Court next week.

When he goes to court on October 11, Shaik will have to explain why he paid Zuma more than R1-million through his companies, and he will have to convince the judge that the payments were not bribes.

It was during the struggle years that Shaik, who often flew to London to meet ANC leaders and to undergo military training, met and befriended Zuma.

During the struggle, Zuma “appointed” Shaik, who once lectured on engineering, to move ANC funds from Europe and Canada into South Africa.

Following the unbanning of the ANC, Shaik, who is now 47, moved to its head offices in Johannesburg and worked with Thomas Nkobi, the ANC’s treasurer-general at the time.

With acknowledgements to Mzilikazi wa Afrika and the Sunday Times.