Selebi ‘critically ill’... but won’t be ‘a Shaik-case’

2011-12-05 00:00

TODAY is D-day for the “very, very critically ill” former national police chief Jackie Selebi, who has been convicted of corruption.

Selebi’s legal team and the registrar of the high court in Johannesburg will hold discussions this morning on the question of whether Selebi will be allowed to stay in Jakaranda Hospital in Pretoria or has to be transferred to a prison hospital.

It may be decided to keep him on under guard in Jakaranda Hospital.

Following various tests yesterday, doctors are also likely to be able to say today exactly what caused Selebi to collapse on Friday shortly after hearing that the appeal court had upheld his corruption conviction.

A decision may also be taken today on whether Selebi, a former head of Interpol, will apply for his bail to be extended with a view to a possible application to appeal to the Constitutional Court.

Selebi’s lawyer, Wynanda Coetzee, said yesterday that she visited Selebi in hospital on Saturday evening, but that because of the seriousness of his illness he could give her “no instructions whatsoever about how he would like us to handle the case”.

Coetzee said Selebi is “really very, very critical”. “His condition is cause for concern. I have fully informed the department of Correctional Services of his condition.

An official from the Department of Correctional Services said they had not yet, by today, obtained a warrant from the registrar of the high court for the detention of Mr Selebi. I have also informed the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) about Mr Selebi’s condition.

“We will speak to the registrar of the Johannesburg High Court today to try and reach a decision on how to handle the case further. I have no idea what the final decision will be.

“All I know is that we and Mr Selebi will in no way try to circumvent justice or any law.

“If the order is for him to go to prison, that will be done.”

She said another option available to them is an urgent application in the Johannesburg High Court today to request that Selebi’s bail conditions be amended so that he does not have to report within 48 hours after Friday’s ruling.

Asked whether the Selebi case will be a “second Schabir Shaik case” Coetzee said, “absolutely not”.

“Mr Selebi’s illness goes a long way back and he has become steadily worse.”

Coetzee said that a request from Selebi’s family does not allow her to respond to claims that he has Parkinson’s disease, has had a stroke or even has cancer.

“I can only confirm that he has been undergoing intensive treatment for a long time.”

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said yesterday that as far as the NPA is concerned, “the Jackie Selebi file is now closed”.

“We have no further involvement with the case. It is now in the hands of the courts, Correctional Services and Mr Selebi,” he said.

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