Selebi hits cell-by date

2011-12-06 00:00

THE prison doors slammed shut behind former police chief Jackie Selebi when he reported to Pretoria Central Prison at about 4.30 pm yesterday, said a Correctional Services spokesperson.

A warrant was approved by South Gauteng Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo earlier in the day for Selebi to be imprisoned.

National police spokesperson Colonel McIntosh Polela said the police were ordered to collect the warrant from the court and to “make sure Selebi goes to jail”.

The former national commissioner spent the weekend in Jakaranda Hospital in Pretoria after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed his application to appeal his conviction on charges of corruption on Friday.

He was supposed to report to the prison within 48 hours to begin serving his 15-year sentence, but collapsed after hearing about the appeal court ruling.

Selebi’s lawyer, Wynanda Coetzee, told journalists that the team is in possession of a medical certificate relating to Selebi’s health condition, but would not elaborate on it.

Selebi was “smuggled” from Jakaranda Hospital in a white bakkie just before 4 pm.

He was apparently moved from the hospital to the bakkie in a wheelchair.

He was then taken to the prison, where the investigating officer in his case was waiting for him.

A national Correctional Services spokesperson confirmed that Selebi is now a prisoner in Pretoria Central, where he was admitted to the hospital section.

There is a possibility that the former police chief may be transferred to a prison in Johannesburg.

National Commissioner of Prisons Tom Moyane confirmed last night that Selebi will be held apart from other prisoners.

Moyane said section 7 2d of the Correctional Services Act, which has a provision for separate incarceration for police officials, members of the defence force, Correctional Services staff or other prisoners because of their age or and health conditions, will be invoked to ensure Selebi’s safety.

There are concerns that inmates arrested on Selebi’s watch might seek to harm him in revenge.

Moyane did not rule out the possibility that at some stage of his incarceration Selebi might mingle with other offenders like murderers, rapists and fraudsters, “as in our prisons we separate prisoners according to their sex [male or females] and age [whether they are juveniles or adults], not according to offences they had committed”.

He refused to reveal names of other high-profile prisoners who are serving their terms at Pretoria Central.

Since Selebi’s warrant of committal was issued when he was in hospital, Moyana said the prison doctor and Correctional Services officials will assess his situation to determine how long he will need to spend in the hospital.

Besides the above arrangements to ensure his safety, he said he will be treated like other offenders.

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