A year ago South Africa’s former top cop and Interpol chief Jackie Selebi was a free man and celebrated his 61st birthday with family and friends. A year later it’s a totally different story.
Instead, Selebi was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for corruption and accepting money and gifts from a suspected drug trafficker.
And instead of celebrating his birthday on Wednesday he is spending it in a hospital bed at the Steve Biko Hospital in Pretoria.
This is where the 62-year-old former ANC struggle veteran will have to celebrate his birthday.
Selebi has been in and out of hospital since he started his sentence in December last year. He was released from hospital two weeks ago but was readmitted over the weekend.
According to the country’s prison authority, Selebi is in a “serious condition”.
Correctional Services commissioner, Tom Moyane said “Selebi’s condition is serious and complicated and we cannot keep someone who is very ill in prison”.
According to authorities he is suffering from diabetes and kidney complications.
Moyane added, “there will not be any special treatment for Selebi and it would be business as usual” for the prisoner.
Meanwhile, a new medical parole board started its work after the introduction of a new parole system. This follows President Jacob Zuma promulgation of all the provisions in the proposed amendment Act on March 1.
The 10-member board, consisting of medical doctors, would investigate all inmates requesting release on medical grounds. Under the new system, anyone, including prisoners, would be allowed to apply for release on medical grounds.
Under the current law, only medical doctors were allowed to initiate parole proceedings.
A group calling itself, Friends of Jackie Selebi are pinning their hopes on the new board. The group was formed when the Supreme Court of Appeal rejected Selebi’s bid to have his corruption conviction set aside.
Friends of Jackie Selebi lodged a formal request with the office of the minister of Correctional Services and the national commissioner of correctional services.
The minister later said the request was “non-existent”.
South Africa’s disgraced former Interpol boss hospitalised
South Africa: Former Interpol chief battling for life
Jackie Selebi – The collapse of a shamed giant
South Africa: No medical parole for Selebi
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