Selebi briefing postponed

2011-12-22 19:10

Pretoria - A media briefing about former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi's health, scheduled for Friday, has been postponed, the National Press Club said.

The briefing, by Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, was postponed due to "new developments" and the need for consultations with doctors, press club chair Yusuf Abramjee said on Thursday.

A new date would be announced later.

The minister had scheduled the briefing about Selebi's health following 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.

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.

'Kidney failure'

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.

Under the headline on its website, "Selebi fights for his life", The New Age reported that 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.

Correctional services had said Selebi would not be discriminated against on the basis of his criminal record.

The newspaper claims 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 he reportedly suffered kidney failure and had twice been admitted for emergency treatment.

Selebi's lawyer, Wynanda Coetzee, was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

SABC radio news reported he was fighting for his life and that doctors were checking on him around the clock. Eyewitness News reported 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 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.

- SAPA
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