Publication: News24 Issued: Date: 2004-10-14 Reporter: Tisha Steyn Reporter: Sapa

Shaik : Politician Takes Stand




Date 2004-10-14


Tisha Steyn, Sapa

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Durban - The first witness in the Schabir Shaik fraud and corruption trial, politician Themba Sono, went into the witness box in the Durban High Court on Thursday.

Sono said he held four degrees, was a professor in politics and economics and deputy leader of the Independent Democrats (ID).

He read for two of his degrees in the United States.

He was a political activist from 1957 and continued "on and off" until he left for the US in 1973.

In June 2000, he was invited to join the Democratic Party and represented the party in the Gauteng legislature until April 2003.

He joined the Independent Democrats (ID) in June 2003. He is currently a member of the Gauteng legislature and said he had also served as a syndicated columnist for the Independent Group for a number of years.

Sono told the court he had voted at national level for the African National Congress in the 1994 elections and his provincial vote went to the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Sono said he met Shaik in 1996 through a colleague and friend, a Mr Trichardt, at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg where he taught economics.

Trichardt had phoned him and said there was a company that needed him and he was invited to go to Durban where he met Shaik.

He had known Trichardt from his student years when he went to open a Black Consciousness student branch in the Western Cape.

While Sono was being introduced in the court, Shaik, who faces fraud and corruption charges relating to alleged payments made to deputy president Jacob Zuma for protection from probes into his business dealings, looked tense and blinked rapidly.

He leaned back and forth and once or twice glanced over his shoulder at reporters.

Outside the court a large group of people waited for the security tags that would allow them entry, followed by a search as the security scanner was not working.

Meanwhile, two members of the Scorpions sat outside the court waiting for Sono to complete his testimony.

They transported Sono to and from the airport and said he would probably return to Johannesburg on Thursday evening.

With acknowledgements to Tisha Steyn, Sapa and News24.