Selebi will report to prison, even if sick

2011-12-03 07:32

Jackie Selebi will report to correctional services in Johannesburg to start serving his 15-year prison sentence on Monday.

Selebi’s lawyer, Wynanda Coetzee, said on Friday that he will report, “even if he’s seriously sick in hospital … even if he has to be transferred to the prison hospital’’.

The disgraced former police commissioner collapsed at his home after hearing, on television, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) confirm his corruption conviction.

Selebi was admitted to a Pretoria hospital, where he was in a stable condition, said Coetzee. He had been ill for some time.

Analyst Sipho Seepe said he may have collapsed because he had not faced up the reality of how damning the evidence was against him, and so had not prepared himself for the possibility of going to jail.

Selebi was found guilty of corruption in July last year for receiving benefits from convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail.

His appeal against his conviction failed on Friday when all five judges on the appeals bench unanimously upheld his conviction.

Garreth Newman of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said such a unanimous decision was unusual, and that one or two judges often have dissenting view.

“In this case their ruling was unanimous, confirming his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.

SCA Judge Kenneth Mthiyane said the court found that 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.

“This court also accepted that the words ‘cop’, c-o-p and ‘JS’ referred to the appellant,” said Mthiyane.

“On all the evidence contained in 66 volumes amounting to more than 600 pages that we had to wade through in this application for appeal, we are satisfied that the high court was correct in finding that the applicant did receive payment from Agliotti,” he added.

Selebi received payment from Agliotti on four occasions. These include payments of R110 000, R30 000 and R10 000, as well as an unspecified amount of US dollars.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the State never had any doubt the judgment would be in its favour. “We had a very strong case and argument.”


Analyst Mary de Haas called Selebi an excessively foolish man who fell into a trap that was set for him.

“I don’t think he is a bad person, but you have to ask why was he convicted and not Agliotti. He was asking for trouble getting involved with the likes Agliotti. He should have known better.”

With Selebi in hospital questions are being raised whether the country will see a scenario similar to that of paroled fraudster Schabir Shaik, who spent most of his jail time in hospital.

Mhaga said that even if Selebi tried to take the matter further, the State would oppose the move.

Trade union federation Cosatu said Selebi’s time in jail would remind corrupt people that crime did not pay. It was regrettable that a man with an impeccable record in the struggle against apartheid was 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”, Cosatu said.

“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 union federation said.

DA spokesperson on police Dianne Kohler Barnard said she would write to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to find out what he will do to recover the R17.4 million that the state spent on Selebi’s defence.

A justice department spokesperson said they would meet Selebi’s lawyers to discuss repayment options.

Asked what would happen if Selebi could not pay back the money, the department’s Tlali Tlali said, “We will follow normal debt recovery processes.”

Newman of the ISS said the Selebi verdict showed that South Africa’s criminal justice system was strong enough to prosecute powerful people.

“Former president Thabo Mbeki did everything in his power to protect Selebi. He went as far as firing the former national director of public prosecutions, Vusi Pikoli.

“Despite this political interference, the criminal justice system prevailed,” Newman said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.