SUNDAY TIMES - Shaik unfriends Zuma: 'You threw me to the wolves'
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Sunday Times News By SUTHENTIRA GOVENDER, 2016-02-21

Shaik unfriends Zuma: 'You threw me to the wolves'

President Jacob Zuma reacts in the National Assembly as his responds to opposition parties following the State of the Nation address in Cape Town on February 18 2016. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander

President Jacob Zuma's one-time financial adviser has taken a thinly veiled swipe at the beleaguered leader in a social media rant.

On Tuesday, convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik, who is on parole and continues to wait for Zuma to "apply his mind" to his request for a presidential pardon, wrote a 1077-word post on Facebook in which he appeared to allude to his relationship with the president.

He complained about "false promises" and being "abandoned ridiculed and scorned for your crimes".

Shaik wrote: "One of my most profound realisations dawned on me, in a dark mosquito infested prison cell. I realised the one single mark that separated men from the boys, it was INTEGRITY.

"I found real honor amongst thieves in prisons, more than I found in the outside so called real world. In politics and in business!!!

"I failed dismally in this regard. I died went to hell then to heaven and returned back home the wiser.

"This is what had pained me so deeply, once displaced my soul so further from me, left abandoned and alone ...

"What of that friendship said I, every night every waking day, those false promises, those Buddha smiles ... Where are you my friendship now?

Shaik, who is a regular on Durban's golf courses, served 28 months of a 15-year jail sentence for fraud and corruption and was granted parole on medical grounds in 2009 after his doctors told the medical parole advisory board that he was terminally ill.

They said he was clinically depressed, losing his eyesight, had suffered a stroke, and would die from "severe" high blood pressure.

Zuma and Shaik's relationship ended when the ANC leader was inaugurated as president in May 2009.

Before that, Zuma had publicly supported Shaik, even visiting him in prison a few times.

In 2012, Shaik was quoted as saying he felt used and let down by Zuma, who was once a close friend.

"Now that Shaik is a dried-up well, the Guptas are the flavour. I have been used and abused," Shaik said at the time.

Approached for comment about the post, all Shaik would say is: "This message is not directed to anyone in particular but a reflection of friendships in general."

Facebook comments on the post make reference to an explosive tell-all book that Shaik is understood to be compiling. The book is set to detail his relationship with Zuma.

In 2009, the president's lawyer, Michael Hulley, told the Sunday Times that Zuma had made no promise to pardon Shaik. Hulley denied that his client had abandoned Shaik. He said: "The president's schedule does not permit him to call on friends and acquaintances."

govendersu@sundaytimes.co.za