Court Stirred as Zuma's Ex-Wife is Shaiken
Schabir Shaik, financial adviser to Deputy President Jacob Zuma, on Wednesday denied all allegations of bribery, corruption, theft, money laundering and offences relating to organised crime. – but he admitted making numerous payments to and on behalf of Jacob Zuma.
And in a bombshell admission he also told the Durban High Court that he had made payments to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – the Deputy President's former wife.
But Shaik did not elaborate on the payments to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and claimed the payments were not signs of a corrupt relationship – but instead indicated a close friendship.
After pleading and giving a short explanation of his plea, Shaik stood down and the Scorpions began their case. The prosecution, led by advocate William Downer SC – a Rhodes scholar and graduate of Oxford University – alleges Shaik is guilty of bribery and corruption in that he made payments to Zuma to which Zuma was not entitled, in return for patronage from the Deputy President.
Downer made it clear the prosecution believed Zuma had accepted bribes.
Among other things Shaik is alleged to have paid for a housing development for Zuma's extended family in Nkandla.
"The source of the funding of the Nkandla development was a bribe," claimed Downer.
He continued: "The purpose of the bribe was twofold: protection from investigation and support for future projects (involving Mr Shaik)."
Downer elaborated on how Zuma had been instrumental in preventing the Heath Special Investigating Unit from probing the arms deal.
"We will allege that of all the investigating units there was much to fear from the Heath Special Investigating Unit."
He pointed out how the unit could exercise wide-ranging powers not wielded by other agencies.
Among other things the Heath SIU had the power to overturn contracts the state had entered into – and could have scrapped the entire arms deal had they found evidence of corruption or irregularities in the signing of contracts.
After summing up the State's case after lunch, Mr Downer told Judge Hillary Squires he would not call any witnesses yesterday.
First witness to testify will be Professor Themba Sono – a former business associate of Mr Shaik. Judge Squires said the court would begin its hearings at 10am.
The courtroom clearly showed its age yesterday when a water pipe ruptured and leaked incessantly during the trial, drowning out the proceedings for those in the rear of the court.
The lights also tripped after lunch, and the court was in darkness until a few minutes before ending for the day. Heavy security was in evidence, with police manning metal detectors outside the court buildings and searching everyone entering the courtroom.
Despite there being a large number of empty seats, Inspector Emmanuel Mncube, of the Area Crime Combating Unit, Durban North, refused all members of the public access to court after lunch.
Insp Mncube, the senior policeman outside the courtroom, denied he was in charge – but refused to allow The Citizen and members of the public access.
He relented only when The Citizen threatened to complain to the Judge President.
Mr Shaik's brothers Mo and Yunis sat at the back of the courtroom with Adrian Ashe, manager of Wolf Security.
With acknowledgements to Paul Kirk and The Citizen.