The South African government has noted the judgement in the Durban trial of Mr Shabir Shaik, and welcomes the fact that the matter has reached a critical stage of finality. It testifies to the maturity of our democracy that the trial ran its course without any interference from any quarter – be it government in general or anyone in authority who may have featured in the evidence led.
Government respects the findings of the court, noting at the same time that our legal system affords those convicted the possibility of appealing to higher courts.
While recognising that there may be a number of implications, for government, arising out of the judgement, this is a matter that will require considered reflection by relevant legal and political authorities.
With regard to the Deputy President in particular, he has himself indicated that he was studying the judgement before making any detailed comment. As he has said before, and as the Judge asserted during the hearing, the Deputy President was not on trial.
We urge all South Africans, including the media, to respect these processes and maintain the dignity with which this matter has been dealt with thus far.
Government has also noted the assertions in the judgement on matters pertaining to the Strategic Defence Procurement Process.
These assertions are consistent with the main finding of the Joint Investigation Team of the Auditor-General, the Public Protector and the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions on the integrity of primary contracting, which was the core responsibility of government. To the extent that the trial dealt with an outstanding issue pertaining to secondary contracting, it was taking forward matters that the Team itself had found required further investigation.
We are convinced that the case itself, including the lengthy judgement delivered – the latter with public access through live media broadcasts – has not only added an important dimension to civic education in the operation of our judicial system. It has also contributed in clarifying many legal and moral issues pertaining to the vexed subject of corruption and abuse of office within both the public and private sectors. In this regard and as a consequence thereof, our democracy has emerged the richer.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)