Convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik says that hypertension medication is keeping him alive – four years after he was released on medical parole.
“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,” Shaik, 56, told The Mercury in an interview at his luxury Morningside, KwaZulu-Natal home.
Asked if he was terminally ill, Shaik said that he suffered from “severe uncontrollable hypertension”, a genetic affliction of the vascular system, from which both his parents suffered.
Shaik said his condition could be managed through medication and by living a healthy lifestyle.
He told the newspaper that when he was in prison, the correctional services department and the health department were unable to manage his condition and he became a “ping pong ball” between the two departments.
Shaik was sentenced to 15 years in jail for fraud and corruption involving President Jacob Zuma, but only served two years and four months of his sentence.
His controversial release sparked questions as to whether he really was in the final stages of a terminal illness – the basis on which medical parole is usually granted.
Shaik says he is now a prisoner in his own home and is unable to enjoy the freedom he fought for.
He said: “Some days are good. Some days are bad. I don’t even know how long I am going to live. I am not too bad. What can you say? Life is like that. All our lives are up and down.”
The former businessman maintains that his friendship with Zuma has not changed.
Shaik said he had no regrets and remained adamant that he and Zuma had not had a corrupt relationship. He believed his arrest and trial had been part of a political conspiracy to discredit Zuma.