Publication: The Citizen Issued: Date: 2004-10-21 Reporter: Sapa

Shaik's Heath Comments Part of General Discussion



The Citizen

Date 2004-10-21



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Durban Schabir Shaik's comments about the Heath Investigating Unit to arms company head Alain Thetard were in the context of a general discussion about other contractors and their suspicions about these contractors, his advocate Francois van Zyl told the Durban High Court on Tuesday.

This follows testimony on Monday by Shaik's former personal assistant Bianca Singh.

Singh told the court that at a meeting in Mauritius between Thetard, Shaik and others, he had handed over a file of newspaper cuttings and said if the unit continued and if a "certain ANC member opened his mouth" they would be in "real trouble".

Van Zyl said Shaik would tell the court this comment was in the context of a general discussion about the unit and their suspicions about other contracts.

He said the court would hear that the clippings Shaik had requested Singh take to Mauritius had been critical of his company Nkobi Holdings and Thomson and when they spoke about "damage control" they were discussing how they could rectify that criticism in the press.

In response Singh told the court: "That's Mr Shaik's version... I believe what I said is correct".

According to Van Zyl the diagrams of Singh said she saw which were of corvettes were actually for a patrol vessel that Nkobi and others had wanted to put in a tender to the Department of Environmental Affairs.

He also said the court would be told that when Shaik became aware of Nkandla, Deputy President Jacob Zuma's traditional village project, and the cost of it, he realised that if Zuma went ahead with it he would be paying "much too much" for it.

He said Shaik would tell the court that he wrote a letter to Zuma saying that he should stop the project, but Zuma went ahead with it regardless.

Singh was again under the close eye of a Scorpions bodyguard while giving testimony and Shaik looked and chatted to journalists during proceedings.

From time to time he called over to his lawyer to confer with him.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and The Citizen.