Durban – Ridwaan Shaik was arrested a week before the lockdown for reckless and negligent driving and has not been able to apply for bail since. He was also charged with possession of an undesirable dependence producing substance.

His wife, Sameera Esoup, of Moorton, Chatsworth, said he was detained at Westville Prison since March 23 and believes his rights have been infringed.

The part-time beautician said Shaik, a supervisor at a hardware store, was arrested while on his way to pick her up from her workplace in Bayview on March 21.

“I called him, but a policeman answered. He said Ridwaan was arrested.

“I went to the station, and we spoke briefly.

“We tried to get station bail, but due to the nature of the charges, he had to appear in court.”

He appeared in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court on March 23, but the matter was adjourned to March 30 for further investigation.

Shaik was transferred to Westville Prison.

“I managed to speak to him on the phone. He said he was okay, but I was concerned because he was recovering from pneumonia. I wanted to visit him, but I was told no visitors were allowed.”

At midnight on March 26, the national lockdown was implemented.

“I went to court on the adjournment date hoping Ridwaan could apply for bail, but we were told he was at the prison due to the lockdown.”

Esoup said the case was adjourned to April 17.

“But a day before the case could be heard, the extended lockdown started, and Ridwaan’s attorney said the matter would be adjourned again.

“I felt helpless. I did not know if he was getting medication. Then I started to worry that he could be infected with the coronavirus.”

Esoup, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma (a cancer which attacks a part of the immune system), said she depended on Shaik to take her to the doctor for check-ups.

“There are days when I cannot move. Now I feel alone. I also feel as if my husband has been treated fairly because the case is dragging on.”

She said his case was next scheduled to be heard on May 6.

The Department of Correctional Services and the Department of Justice did not respond at the time of publication.

By Nadia Khan