Jailed South African police chief gets medical parole
SOUTH AFRICA’S prison authorities have denied that former police chief Jackie Selebi, who was released from jail yesterday on medical parole after serving less than eight months of a 15-year sentence, was given preferential treatment.
Selebi – an African National Congress (ANC) stalwart who was found guilty in 2010 of taking bribes from a convicted drug dealer while he served as South Africa’s top policeman – suffers from diabetes and kidney failure.
According to doctors he has been receiving dialysis three times a day for end-stage renal disease, and cannot undergo a kidney transplant.
He has also suffered a number of minor strokes and a heart attack while in jail.
Following news of Selebi’s pending release yesterday Correctional Services commissioner Tom Moyane was forced to defend the decision.
He said it was based solely on the advice of the 11-member medical parole advisory board, which is independently appointed.
“His wife applied [on Selebi’s behalf] for the medical parole to be considered as such. He has spent 229 days in our facilities and it was our responsibility to do all the due diligence regarding his health.
“It was confirmed that he is suffering from the diseases that the doctors said he is suffering from. So there was no preferential treatment to Mr Selebi,” he said.
However, the move has been questioned by the opposition Democratic Alliance party which has asked for official assurances from the correctional services that the proper procedure was followed.
The party said the public was extremely cynical about medical parole due to the Schabir Shaik “fiasco”.
In 2005, the Durban high court sentenced Shaik, South African president Jacob Zuma’s former business adviser, to 15 years’ imprisonment for fraud and corruption. His sentence effectively ends in 2021, but three years ago he was released on parole by the authorities who said he had a terminal illness.
Since then Shaik has been seen out playing golf and attending church, which has led to accusations that his close links with the ANC has afforded him special treatment. He has applied for a presidential pardon.
Other criminals who could have grounds for medical parole have not been as fortunate as Shaik to date.
Clive Derby-Lewis, the man convicted of murdering South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani in 1993, has prostate cancer. Although he has applied for parole twice, his applications have been denied.
Derby-Lewis (75) had served 18 of his 25-year sentence, but the authorities have cited his lack of full disclosure and a lack of remorse for the crime among the reasons for his parole being refused.
Selebi was convicted of corruption on July 2nd, 2010, and handed a 15-year jail sentence, but he appealed in the supreme court of appeal against the corruption conviction.
In December 2011 he collapsed at home in Waterkloof, Pretoria, while watching the appeal judgment on television. His appeal was denied.
He has spent much of his time in the prison hospital because of his condition.