Publication: Cape Argus Issued: Date: 2008-08-15 Reporter: Wendy Jasson da Costa

Doubting Doctor says Sorry to Shaik



Cape Argus



Reporter Wendy Jasson da Costa

Web Link


Schabir Shaik has received a public apology from a Durban doctor who, over a two-year period, repeatedly claimed that his ill health was a sham.

This week, Dr Yusuf Asmal, who practises at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, sent a letter to The Mercury saying that he wanted to "state on record" that Shaik "genuinely" had a problem of "malignant hypertension".

"I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to him, his friends and family for any distortion of public opinion or distress that my comments may have had, and I hope this letter serves to go some way to correct that," Asmal wrote.

Shaik, who suffers from hypertension, was sentenced in 2005 to 15 years in jail for fraud and corruption.

However, since the start of his sentence in November 2006, he has been plagued by ill- health and last week his brothers Yunis and Mo pleaded that he be released into correctional supervision at home or "some kind of parole".

Correctional services department officials and Shaik's doctor would brief the National Assembly's correctional services committee on his condition next Tuesday.

Shaik is in a private ward and is watched over by a guard in plain clothes. Only people on a list of authorised visitors are allowed to spend time with him.

However, hospital staff and fellow patients say he is friendly and although he does not talk much he is not averse to cracking the odd joke.

Insiders at the hospital say Shaik apparently went for a brain scan last week.

They say he has switched to a saltless diet and his food has to be pureed so that he does not need to chew when his condition is particularly bad.

Others say he has "become very religious" and is often seen going to the hospital's mosque.

    * This article was originally published on page 2 of The Mercury on August 15, 2008
Related Articles

With acknowledgements to Wendy Jasson da Costa and Cape Argus.