Quote of the week

As seductive as certain perspectives of international law may appear to those who disagree with the outcome of the interpretative exercise conducted by this Court in the contempt judgment, sight must not be lost of the proper place of international law, especially in respect of an application for rescission. The approach that my Brother adopts may be apposite in the context of an appeal, where a court is enjoined to consider whether the court a quo erred in its interpretation of the law. Although it should be clear by now, I shall repeat it once more: this is not an appeal, for this Court’s orders are not appealable. I am deeply concerned that seeking to rely on articles of the ICCPR as a basis for rescission constitutes nothing more than sophistry.

Khampepe J
Zuma v Secretary of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector Including Organs of State and Others (CCT 52/21) [2021] ZACC 28 (17 September 2021)
20 July 2009

Medical Miracles (III)

It has now been 142 days since Schabir Shaik was released from prison on medical parole in order to die a dignified death in terms of the appropriate legislation. Shaik, however, is still very much alive. Newspapers even published a claim that Shaik was spotted in a fancy Durban Restaurant at the end of last month. Is this a medical miracle in the making?

Just a reminder that section 79 of the Act states that:

Any person serving any sentence in a prison and who, based on the written evidence of the medical practitioner treating that person, is diagnosed as being in the final phase of any terminal disease or condition may be considered for placement under correctional supervision or on parole, by the Commissioner, Correctional Supervision and Parole Board or the court, as the case may be, to die a consolatory and dignified death.

The fact that Shaik is still alive almost five months after being released on medical parole, means that either his doctors made a terrible mistake when they diagnosed him as being in the final stages of a terminal illness, or they never really diagnosed him as being in the final stages of a terminal illness but the parole board nevertheless unlawfully ordered his release and the then Minister of Correctional Services lied to the nation about the true state of affairs. (Well, either that or divine intervention is creating a medical miracle in front of our eyes.)

I will continue to remind readers every 30 days that Shaik is still alive. I really do not want Shaik to die. I just want him to go back to prison where the law seemingly requires him to be.

Every 30 days that Shaik remains alive provides more proof that the medical parole board released Shaik unlawfully and that the government (and specifically the Minister of Correctional Services at the time) lied about his condition. If he had been terminally ill when released – as required by the Correctional Services Act – Shaik would surely have been dead by now. With the passing of every month, the scandal of his release grows bigger. We should not forget this.

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