'Tensions Will Rise Again'
Vusumuzi Ka Nzapheza
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling that upheld the conviction of fraudster Shabir Shaik will determine the destiny of South Africa, said his brother Yunis.
He said the possibility now existed that former deputy president Jacob Zuma could be re-tried by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and this would have a bearing on the current presidential succession debacle.
"Zuma's previous trials have generated divisiveness in the country and tensions will rise again," Yunis warned.
Shabir pulled out of a pre-arranged media conference at 567 CapeTalk radio yesterday at the eleventh hour following the news from Bloemfontein that the SCA had upheld his conviction last year by Judge Hilary Squires.
Explaining Shabir's no-show, his other brother, Mo, said Shabir was devastated by the SCA decision and was consulting his lawyers in Cape Town.
"He needs the time to gather his thoughts because he has a few hours before handing himself over (to prison)", he said.
Mo said messages of support had come in from all over the country at the news of Shabir's looming imprisonment.
"The messages came from petrol attendants to cabinet ministers," he said.
The two brothers said Shabir was particularly unhappy over the second charge of corruption in which Squires had ruled that he had a generally corrupt relationship with Zuma.
"The relationship was founded decades ago and in 1985 it led to the jailing of myself, Shabir, (brother) Chippy and my father for our involvement in the struggle," Mo said.
He said he had recruited an agent of the apartheid government who supplied him with intelligence.
"As a result, Zuma had access to that intelligence and he was subsequently appointed the head of intelligence by the ANC," Mo said.
Yunis said it should not be forgotten that Zuma had fallen into debt and that Shabir acted with "compassion" when he bailed him out.
"I am offended with the suggestion that if you give money to a friend in need, it's a political strategy. Where will it end?" asked Yunis.
He said Zuma recently had lunch with the Shaik family at the end of Eid.
"Our relationship with Zuma has stood the test of time and as ANC members, we can never do anything to harm Zuma or the ANC," Mo said.
Mo charged that the courts do make mistakes.
"Law is not science and does not have the same impact like the word of God. Lots of people are wrongfully convicted in the courts," Mo said.
Mo and Yunis said they stood by their brother's innocence.
"We are our brother's keepers and we are disappointed, but we will be looking at other legal options," Mo said.
"Shabir is ready for imprisonment and we will support him as he takes the work to prison," said Yunis, who was appointed by the family to wind down Shabir's businesses when the two-year case exerted an emotional toll and financial strain on the family.
Shabir's assets are under curatorship and with yesterday's ruling, he will have to turn over more than R34m in assets to the state.
With acknowledgement to Vusumuzi Ka Nzapheza and Cape Times.