Minister to speak on Selebi's health
Pretoria - Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has scheduled a media briefing about convicted former police chief Jackie Selebi's health, amid reports on Thursday that he was "fighting for his life".
The minister's spokesperson, Zacharia Modise, declined to give an update on Selebi's health on Thursday, saying Mapisa-Nqakula would address the issues at a press briefing scheduled for Friday.
"I would not want to make any pronouncements on the matter at this stage. Let's wait to hear what the minister will say," he said.
Selebi, 61, was taken to the nephrology (kidney) ward of the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in northern Pretoria on Monday morning under armed guard. The department said he was undergoing tests.
The New Age newspaper on Thursday reported that Selebi's health was deteriorating fast.
The report, citing unnamed "well-placed sources", said the former police chief was having dialysis for kidney failure every four hours.
Headlined on its website, "Selebi fights for his life", The New Age said his family feared that, although his name was on a waiting list for a transplant, he might not be granted the opportunity because he is a convicted criminal.
This would mean a death sentence, but Correctional Services had said Selebi would not be discriminated against on the basis of any criminal record.
The newspaper claims that Selebi was only scheduled to start dialysis in January.
However, the shock of losing his case in the Supreme Court of Appeal earlier this month was so severe that he suffered kidney failure and had twice been admitted for emergency treatment.
Booked into jail on December 5
Selebi's lawyer, Wynanda Coetzee, was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.
SABC radio news also reported that he was fighting for his life and that doctors were checking up on him around the clock. Eyewitness News reported that he was "really ill".
The disgraced former police chief was booked into prison on December 5 to start a 15-year jail term.
He was found guilty of corruption after he accepted money from convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti, and then also giving him benefits that included showing him a British drug investigation report.
Selebi was president of Interpol at the time.
His appeal against his corruption conviction failed in the Supreme Court of Appeal on December 2.
Selebi watched the judgment on television at home and collapsed when he heard the outcome, Coetzee said at the time.