Just Friends, say Pair of Heavies
Mzilikazi wa Afrika, Paddy Harper
The large men in suits who have shadowed Schabir Shaik's every move this week are not minders but his "pals".
Adrian Ash, Constantinios "Costa" Dranias, Krish Dudhraj and Baya Ricardo Rafael Dominquez say they are old friends of Shaik, at court to "support and assist" him.
They sit inside the courtroom with Shaik during hearings.
Dranias told The Sunday Times that he and his friends were unhappy with the media's portrayal of them as a security team. Dranias is a member of a Durban family who have interests in the nightclub and entertainment industry.
"Its actually been quite laughable and concerning at the same time," he said.
"We are not his bodyguards... we are very dear friends. As very dear friends we are simply showing him emotional support and standing by his side."
Both Dranias, who is in import and commodities, and Ash said they were not armed or paid for their time.
Ash, who has taken leave from his security job, said he had known Shaik for "many years".
"We're here to lend support ... and get him to court as fluidly as possible," he said.
"There could be any nutter or anything out there," he added.
Yunus Shaik, the spokesman for the Shaik family, said his understanding was that the four were "simply friends who are assisting Schabir".
With acknowledgements to Paddy Harper, Mzilikazi wa Afrika and the Sunday Times.