Publication: Sapa Issued: Durban Date: 2004-10-14 Reporter: Wendy Jasson Da Costa Reporter: Ben Maclennan

Shaik's 'Non Sunny Side' Led to Sono Resignation






Date 2004-10-14


Wendy Jasson Da Costa, Ben Maclennan


The "non sunny side" of corruption-accused Schabir Shaik's personality is what made State witness Themba Sono resign as director of Shaik's Nkobi Holdings, the Durban High Court heard on Thursday.

Sono said he took exception to the "boorish and autocratic manner" with which Shaik treated some of his colleagues.

He said Shaik had two personalities -- the "sunny side" and the other "non sunny side".

He said the "non sunny side" of Shaik was what finally triggered him to write his resignation letter as director of Nkobi Holdings.

Sono said a standing issue between them was that Shaik continuously flouted big political names.

A few days before he wrote his letter, Shaik called him and said he had to come to work because they were working on a project. He said he found Shaik's tone unacceptable.

Sono said Shaik told him: "Listen here my friend, your blackness means nothing to me".

He also said: "Your connection to (former president Nelson) Mandela and (President Thabo) Mbeki means nothing in this company."

He said Shaik also attacked his qualifications and his relationship with top politicians.

Sono read extracts from the resignation letter in court and in it he told Shaik that "now my friend your statement is sheer meanness of spirit".

He also questioned why Shaik used his blackness and said in quotes "my blackness like my eyes are God-given". He added that he had earned his PhD like he had earned his salary.

Sono said he left the group and Shaik called to apologise but he did not return to Nkobi Holdings.

Sono told the court "with my skin colour and politics I am not for rent".

During the tea break Sono, who is diabetic, was treated by a medical doctor after his sugar level rocketed.

The court was adjourned earlier than usual for lunch at the request of Shaik's legal team who said they needed to hold a brief discussion with their client.

The trial is expected to resume at 2pm.

With acknowledgements to Wendy Jasson Da Costa, Ben Maclennan and Sapa.