Two-and-a-half months after convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik allegedly assaulted a journalist on a golf course, police have still not finalised their investigation.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Brigadier Phindile Radebe said yesterday the docket, which was sent back to the police by acting director of public prosecutions Simphiwe Mlotshwa last month, was still incomplete.
"We are still investigating. I cannot say when the investigation will be complete. At this stage, I am unable to say what needs to be completed because it is a sensitive matter and may jeopardise the case," Radebe said.
But Institute for Security Studies crime and justice expert Dr Johan Burger said yesterday the average turnaround time for a simple common assault case was no more than two weeks.
"Instead in this case it is taking more than two months. It appears that the police are stalling and there is an unnecessary delay. The police need to come out and say what is keeping them from finalising this matter," he said.
Journalist Amanda Khoza laid a complaint against Shaik in March, saying he slapped and throttled her on the Papwa Sewgolum Golf Course in Durban on February 26 after a tip-off that Shaik - granted medical parole on the grounds of terminal illness - was teeing off.
Burger said a completed docket for a common assault case would contain statements from the accused, complainant, witnesses and a G88 form to show the complainant had been examined by a doctor. "In this case, we know who the accused and the complainant are. By now, police would have established the identities of the witnesses. That would have taken no more than two weeks.
"If there is a key witness, who may be overseas or unavailable to make a statement, police need to come out and say this. This is not a murder or high-level corruption case where there is sensitive information that needs to be hidden," said Burger.
While the delay was not explained it could be assumed that Shaik's being a high-profile person was "for some reason impacting negatively on the police's ability to finalise this matter".
Shaik was rearrested soon after Khoza's complaint when a new assault claim against him surfaced. He spent 48 hours behind bars after the Department of Correctional Services said it could not ignore the allegation he punched Mohamed Ismail at the Masjid al Hilal mosque in Overport.
After a two-day investigation, the department released Shaik on the grounds that he had not violated parole conditions and there was no proof of the assault as Ismail could not be located.
Shaik, friend and former financial adviser of President Jacob Zuma, served 28 months of his 15-year jail sentence for fraud and corruption - mostly in hospitals.