No more updates on Selebi's health
Johannesburg - Further information on former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi's health will not be released by correctional services because it has become a strain on him and those around him, the department said on Tuesday.
"We think that we are putting a lot of stress on Mr Selebi, his family and the doctors who are treating him," said chief deputy commissioner Zacharia Modise.
Continuous requests for information to the Steve Biko Academic Hospital where Selebi is being treated, and to his family, had become too much.
"This man is sick. We ask that journalists be compassionate," said Modise.
This was in response to a request for clarity on whether Selebi had been transferred from intensive care to a regular ward at the hospital.
Selebi's health deteriorated after he lost his appeal against a corruption conviction in the Supreme Court of Appeals last year.
He was taken from his home to a private hospital and subsequently taken to prison to begin his 15-year sentence.
His lawyers and prison authorities have said that he has a serious kidney condition which requires treatment in hospital.
Questions have been raised in the public sphere on whether he is playing up his illness to avoid time in a jail cell.
Comparisons are often made to President Jacob Zuma's former financial adviser Schabir Shaik, who was released on medical parole with a terminal condition early in his 15-year sentence for fraud and corruption after spending a short time in a private hospital.
On Monday there were conflicting reports over whether Selebi had been released from the intensive care unit or not.
The SABC on Monday reported national commissioner of correctional services Tom Moyane as saying Selebi had been moved from intensive care, but The New Age quoted Moyane as saying he was still there.
According to the hospital's website, it is an academic hospital which offers specialised and highly specialised care.