Jackie Selebi – The collapse of a shamed giant

By Crystal Van Wyk

Posted on Wednesday, 7 December 2011 12:37

He was once South Africa’s top cop and even the international crime fighting organisation, Interpol recognised his policing skills.

Jackie Selebi led the international crime-fighting organisation for 4 years from 2004 to 2008.

But Selebi’s hands were dirty and not even this high profile position and leading the country’s police could keep him out of prison.

The disgraced cop is now in jail and serving a 15 -year jail sentence at the Pretoria Central rison on Tuesday.

Ironically, the prison Selebi is being held in was the official site for capital punishment under apartheid, a system he fought to end.

In a last ditch attempt, his lawyers tried in vain to keep him out of prison for another week, citing poor health.

It is understood that the 61-year-old, who is diabetic, has been undergoing dialysis and is in dire need of a kidney transplant.

He will now undergo treatment at the prison’s infirmary.

Reporters who witnessed Selebi being handed over to prison authorities, said the former top cop “appeared disoriented and in a bad state”. He arrived at the prison in a wheelchair.

The Correctional Services Department said the hospital wing “was able to handle serious conditions, including dialysis”.

It’s not been an easy week for the disgraced top cop. Last week, Selebi lost an appeal against conviction at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Upon hearing the news, Selebi reportedly collapsed.

In August 2010, Selebi was convicted for receiving gifts from convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti and was sentenced to 15 years in jail.

The high court granted Selebi leave to appeal in terms of whether the State had proved that the former police boss had provided Agliotti with anything in return.

Constitutional law expert, Prof Pierre de Vos said the case “has demonstrated that even the South African police commissioner was corruptible and dented trust in the police”.

De Vos added: “it’s remarkable that the Police Commissioner was successfully prosecuted — something that would happen in very few countries in the world as it is notoriously difficult to investigate and prosecute members of the police leadership, who usually have the resources to derail any such investigation”.

Selebi’s lawyers indicated that they had no immediate plans to ask for medical parole.

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