Jackie Selebi’s time in jail will remind corrupt people that crime does not pay, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said today (02/11/2011).
The former police commissioner and head of Interpol reportedly collapsed and could not walk after hearing that his appeal had failed, his attorney said. He was admitted to hospital. “He is not doing well,” said Wynanda Coetzee.
Selebi was given 48 hours to report to prison to start serving his 15-year sentence, after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal against his conviction.
Cosatu said it hoped “that eventually all those who can’t explain their huge bank balances and who can’t explain how they became overnight multimillionaires will eventually join him in prison”.
“It is regrettable that a man with such an implacable [sic] record in the struggle against apartheid, is 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.
“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 Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) felt the dismissal of the appeal sent a powerful message on the severe consequences of corruption.
“At long last we have closed this shameful chapter in our history which has severely dented the image of the [SA Police Service] and the integrity and credibility of South Africa as a whole,” said IFP spokesman on police Velaphi Ndlovu.
Selebi was convicted for receiving money from convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti.
“This is an important signal to send out if we want to successfully deal with corruption in our country,” Ndlovu said.
The party said the National Prosecuting Authority had done its job well.
The Democratic Alliance urged Selebi to “do the honourable thing” and hand himself over to the nearest police station to start his sentence.
“This is the end of what has been probably the most controversial and nationally embarrassing court case South Africa has ever experienced,” DA spokeswoman on police, Dianne Kohler Barnard said.
“He was the head of Interpol when he was arrested.” She would write to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to find out what he was going to do to recover what she said was a R17.4 million bill for the case.
Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald said the state would have to look at the criteria when taxpayer’s money was used for legal fees of officials.
“Guarantees should be given beforehand, otherwise it boils down to wasting of taxpayers’ money if the costs cannot be recovered,” Groenewald said.
In its judgment the SCA found 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. – Sapa