Shaik parole loophole won't help Selebi
Maryna Lamprecht, Beeld
Pretoria - Jackie Selebi's chances of being released on medical parole are “almost zero” because of new legislation that became effective in September this year, DA spokesperson on correctional services James Selfe said on Monday.
If a “critically ill” Selebi applies for medical parole on the grounds of his unknown illness, he will be subjected to the Correctional Matters Amendment Act, which was passed this year to place medical parole releases beyond reproach.
The amendment act was introduced after the parole board’s credibility suffered a serious blow following the controversial release of fraudster and former financial adviser to President Jacob Zuma, Schabir Shaik.
Shaik was released from prison after his medical practitioner claimed that he was gravely ill.
“Previously a doctor - any doctor - could write a report to the parole board and a prisoner could be released; now it no longer works like that,” said Selfe.
The amendment requires a medical practitioner to motivate very thoroughly why a prisoner should be considered for medical parole. That report is then submitted to an independent panel of medical practitioners for approval, after which the parole board takes a decision.
“According to the amendment act, the parole board has to give thorough consideration to a list of specific matters before a decision can be made.
“Only then can a prisoner be released,” said Selfe.
The remarks of the magistrate or judge at the time of sentencing, the nature of the offence, and the prisoner’s criminal record are among the things to be considered.
“Even should the medical panel be sympathetic towards Selebi, which I strongly doubt, they will have to take the judge’s remarks during sentencing into consideration, and that would definitely not count in Selebi’s favour.
“The chances of his being granted medical parole are almost zero.”
Selfe said Selebi could possibly be released on medical parole if he can prove that he needs kidney dialysis, since the state does not provide this treatment for patients older than 50.