Selebi a reminder 'crime doesn't pay'
Johannesburg - Jackie Selebi's time in jail will remind corrupt people that crime does not pay, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on Friday.
"Cosatu hopes that eventually all those who can't explain their huge bank balances and who can't explain how they became overnight multimillionaires will eventually join him in prison," the union federation said in a statement.
The former police commissioner and head of Interpol had 48 hours to report to prison to start serving his 15-year sentence, after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal against his conviction.
"It is regrettable that a man with such an implacable [sic] record in the struggle against apartheid, is going to spend 15 years in prison for accepting R166 000, a small sum compared to the amounts others are looting from the state through tenderpreneurship activities.
"Nevertheless, in Cosatu's view, corruption is as bad as apartheid was; both are based on marginalising the poor, most of whom are black in general and Africans in particular."
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) felt the dismissal of the appeal sent a powerful message on the severe consequences of corruption.
IFP spokesperson on police Velaphi Ndlovu said: "At long last we have closed this shameful chapter in our history which has severely dented the image of the [SA Police Service] and the integrity and credibility of South Africa as a whole."
Selebi was convicted for receiving money from convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti.
"This is an important signal to send out if we want to successfully deal with corruption in our country," Ndlovu said.
The party said the National Prosecuting Authority had done its job well.
The Democratic Alliance urged Selebi to "do the honourable thing" and hand himself over to the nearest police station to start his sentence.
DA spokesperson on police, Dianne Kohler Barnard said: "This is the end of what has been probably the most controversial and nationally embarrassing court case South Africa has ever experienced.
"He was the head of Interpol when he was arrested."
She would write to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to find out what he was going to do to recover what she said was a R17.4m bill for the case.
Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald said the state would have to look at the criteria when taxpayer's money was used for legal fees of officials.
"Guarantees should be given beforehand, otherwise it boils down to wasting of taxpayers' money if the costs cannot be recovered," Groenewald said.
In its judgment the SCA found the annotations "cash JS", "A", "cash cop", and "cash chief" on cheque counterfoils referred to Selebi.
They rejected the submission that the cheques were for an ill policeman Agliotti was helping to support.
-- Selebi collapsed and could not walk after hearing that his appeal had failed, his attorney said.
"He is not doing well," said Wynanda Coetzee.