Anne Selebi now calling the shots

2013-10-13 14:00

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The former police chief is a convicted fraudster and proven philanderer, but his wife of 30 years is standing by her man

He may not have been the world’s best husband but to Anne Selebi, Jackie is the only one she’s got – and she’s keeping him alive.

In an exclusive interview at their home in Waterkloof, Pretoria, Anne Selebi said nowadays her and Jackie argue about the strict diet he has to follow and the dialysis treatment he has to undergo four times a day.

Soft-spoken and shy, Anne, who had to leave her job to take care of her husband around the clock, says he will die if she does not administer his peritoneal dialysis treatment at 6am, 12pm, 6pm and 10pm every day.

Is Selebi a model patient?

“Oh no, not at all. He’s not. We fight about medication, the times he has to take medication, the food and all those things,” she says.

“But he’s getting better. He understands the importance of the treatment. He understands that this is the most important job as a nurse and a wife that I have ever had to do.”

Last year, Anne, who has been married to the disgraced former national police commissioner for 30 years, applied to the Medical Parole Advisory Board to have him released because he was suffering from end-stage kidney disease brought on by his diabetes.

Selebi had just begun serving a 15-year sentence for corruption and defeating the ends of justice. He spent 229 days in jail.

Anne was constantly at her husband’s side during his trial. Evidence was led that convicted druglord Glenn Agliotti paid for a R6 000 Gucci bag for Selebi’s secretary and mistress, Ntombi Matshoba.

In spite of all this, she says she is “hurt” by reports that her husband is better and “up and about”.

“It’s not easy. It will never be easy. He’s much better now but dialysis has to be done every day and I do it wholeheartedly,” she says.

“I like seeing him getting better. But to get these reports that he’s up and about and he’s in the shops, they hurt. Jackie is sick. They know he’s sick. It’s just that now he’s a little better and dialysis keeps him going.”

Anne counts her family, friends and her church as her “bedrock” through trying times.

Selebi agrees he would be lost without her.

He admits to getting “mad” sometimes because of his stringent routine and the bland food he has to eat.

“First thing she does when she wakes up is to check my blood sugar level. Only then can I have breakfast and after that, an insulin injection. It’s a full-time job,” he says.

“Without her I am completely lost. She really is my pillar of strength. At times the children disappear and go out. I’ve got boys, they all have appointments today, so the only person who sticks around with me is her.”

As he says this, Anne walks out to accept a delivery of 32 boxes of dialysis treatment sent to their home once a month.

“Sometimes I get so mad, I say I don’t want to hear about all of these things and the food and the medication, but she says ‘you are going there’ and I have to go,” he says.

Selebi says he must not eat salt, spices, bananas, oranges or any coloured fruit, and his doctors tell him he has to exercise.

“The doctors demand that I exercise. I tell them that I can’t walk because the media will say I am healthy,” he says.

Hanging over the Selebis’ heads is the R17 million in legal fees the state had forked out for his defence and which he will have to repay if national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega decides he must.

But Selebi says this – as well as the fact that his age makes him unsuitable for a kidney transplant – is the least of his worries.

“The greatest fight I am having is to be healthy. All these other things are inconsequential. The serious thing is my health.

“So whatever I am doing, whatever other problems I may have, the uppermost thing I want to deal with is to make sure I get better, health wise,” he says.

Selebi is upset about reports that he went inside a shop to buy newspapers and angrily says: “I never went inside that shop.”

“The only time it gets difficult is when you get people who give you an impression that they can’t wait for you to die.

“They don’t say it, but from what they do, you get an impression that these people just can’t wait that I die and, if they could speed it up, they would do it,” he says.

“That’s the only time it touches me, otherwise I’ve got to go through these things.”

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