It’s eight years since his release on medical parole and the linguine-loving, golf-playing convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik is still considered terminally ill, according to Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha.
And despite having told media in 2013 that he was suffering from hypertension and was on a low-carb diet, Shaik’s favourite Italian restaurant in Durban confirmed to The Citizen that the businessperson still enjoys a good plate of pasta.
Spiga D’Oro on Florida Road is known as Shaik’s go-to restaurant. It even has a dish called Linguine Alla Shaik, which he frequently orders.
“He is here every morning for a coffee, or a pizza later, where he is sitting with his friends,” one of its managers said.
“He orders the pizza with pineapples, olives and chilli.
“And then, in the afternoons, he comes for a takeaway of that pasta named after him.”
The manager, who did not want to be named, added that Shaik orders regular pasta rather than a gluten-free dish.
In an interview with The Mercury in 2013, at his lavish home in Morningside, Shaik said prescription medication was keeping him alive.
“I am still on six hypertension drugs. I take six pills in the morning and six in the evening. These are all prescription medicines. I will be on drugs for as long as I am alive.
“I also go for a medical checkup every month,” he told the publication, adding that the “severe uncontrollable hypertension” was genetic and both his parents suffered from it.
According to the report, he changed his eating habits and was on a strict low-carbohydrate diet. He said his eyesight had improved as a result.
Masutha, who in a parliamentary reply to questions said he considered Shaik terminally ill, added that his last medical assessment was in 2009, prior to his release.
Shaik, who was once President Jacob Zuma’s financial adviser, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2005 after being found guilty on two counts of corruption and one of fraud.
He served just over two years of his jail term and in that time was in and out of hospital for high blood pressure, chest pains and depression.
While under house arrest in Durban, he had his parole conditions reviewed and relaxed in April 2015, according to the reply to the Democratic Alliance.
This allows him to work from Monday to Friday from 8am-6.30pm. He is further able to attend school functions for his son from 5pm-7pm, attend sports once a week from 12pm to 7pm and, if he has to travel outside KwaZulu-Natal, he has to apply for a leave of absence “like any other offender”.
“The condition of the parolee is still viewed to be terminal. Medical parole was granted in terms of the provisions of section 79 of the Correctional Services Act, Act No 111 of 1998, before it was amended,” Masutha said.
“Therefore, he was considered in terms of the then applicable legislation.”
Since his release, Shaik has made headlines for his temper flare-ups and for verbally and physically abusing two journalists on separate occasions when asked about his health.
He also allegedly hit a caddie with a golf club and an accountant at a mosque. – email@example.com