Publication: Sapa Issued: Durban Date: 2004-10-13 Reporter: Sapa

Shaik Tells How Friendship with Zuma Developed






Date 2004-10-13


The Durban High Court on Wednesday heard how the close friendship between businessman Schabir Shaik and deputy president Jacob Zuma started during the struggle against apartheid in the mid-1980s and how it "endures to this day."

Shaik, who is Zuma's financial advisor, faces charges of fraud and corruption.

In a statement read to the court by Shaik's advocate Francois van Zyl, Shaik said he was an electrical engineering lecturer at Peninsula Technikon in Cape Town in the mid-1980s when his family was harassed by the security police and he decided to return to Durban.

He said his father and three of his brothers were detained and during this time his father suffered a stroke and his business had to be closed.

When Shaik's brother Mo was released, Shaik travelled with him to London on a false passport provided by the ANC and met Zuma and Aziz Pahad, who is currently South Africa's deputy foreign affairs minister.

He said Zuma recruited him as an ANC cadre and he was sent for training in remote systems detonation.

On completion Shaik was tasked with establishing channels for the transfer of funds from outside South Africa to underground structures within the country and to undertake the transfer of such funds.

He said this meant he travelled to and from South Africa on a regular basis and became a courier of information from Mo Shaik to Zuma who at that time was head of an ANC intelligence unit.

Shaik said he regularly met and briefed Zuma and sometimes Pahad in London.

He said during this time he channelled vast amounts of money to the underground structures on behalf of the ANC.

Shaik said when the ANC was unbanned in 1990, Zuma was one of the first senior ANC exiles to return to the country and engage in talks with the former government.

He said Zuma suggested to the ANC's Treasurer-General at that time, Thomas Nkobi, that Shaik could be of assistance to him.

Shaik was then appointed as one of Nkobi's assistants and stationed at Shell House in Johannesburg.

Shaik said many of the exiles who returned, like Zuma, were provided with financial assistance by supporters of the ANC.

"Within my moderate means I also assisted Zuma financially where I could," Shaik said in the statement.

He said over the years a close friendship developed between him, Zuma and their respective families and that this friendship still existed.

After the 1994 elections Zuma was appointed MEC for Economic Affairs and Tourism in the kwaZulu-Natal legislature.

As MEC, Zuma asked Shaik if he would act as advisor to him, without remuneration and Shaik agreed.

Between 1994 and 1997 Zuma was National Chairperson of the ANC and in 1997 he became National Deputy President of the ANC.

With acknowledgement to Sapa.