Schabir Shaik – who was found guilty of corruption and fraud, leading to Jacob Zuma’s axing as then deputy president because of the close association the two shared – has dismissed reports that he has been subpoenaed to testify in the case brought by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) against the former president.
“First of all, I have never said to any reporter that I have been subpoenaed, that is a misrepresentation of the facts. As far as I understand, no witnesses have been subpoenaed. They have been interviewed like myself, I’ve been interviewed by the Hawks,” Zuma’s controversial former financial adviser told Power FM.
He, however, said, should he be subpoenaed by a court, he would adhere to that legal obligation.
“As to what I will say or not say, I can’t predict now, the court case has a long way to go,” he said.
Shaik said he maintained that the payments he made to Zuma were not intentional corruption, but an act of kindness.
“My affidavits are before the court, my statements are before the court and I maintain my innocence. I respect the judicial system, but I have to disagree when they make mistakes, I don’t think judges are infallible, they are human beings,” he said.
Referring to his conviction and 15-year imprisonment sentence for corruption – for which he served two years’ jail time before being released on medical parole – Shaik said the judge should have considered that when the likes of Zuma returned from exile, they had no means of supporting their families and so he, Shaik, had only assisted Zuma in that regard.
“If you perceive that as corruption then I don’t know where Ubuntu [humanity] is,” he said.
He added he had provided financial help to other returning exiles, but refrained from mentioning them by name.
“He was deployed in KZN between 1994 and 1999 to bring about peace and stability in the province. He volunteered to do so quietly … and he reduced the conflict to almost zero … he did a sterling job. He brought the conflict to an end. He took a sacrifice in salary and benefits, and then we still expected him to maintain, he was earning R12 500 as an MEC then, we still expected him to do the good work and maintain his children’s education and this and that,” Shaik said.
He said Zuma had not returned the financial assistance with any favours and that while Zuma was the KZN MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, he, Shaik, did not win any tenders from that department despite tendering for some.