'The press are like bloody vultures'

Jackie Selebi’s son burst into tears in the foyer of the South Gauteng High Court on Friday afternoon as Selebi and his family left the court.

Selebi cut a lone figure while he waited with his family for their cars to arrive. Selebi’s son had to be consoled by a family member as his father stared into space and spoke to no one.

For one moment Selebi started to say something to a family member but he was quickly told to calm down, because “the media is here”.

Selebi’s wife, Anne, made no attempt to hug or console her husband and spent the time making numerous calls on her cellphone.

One of Selebi’s lawyers mumbled “the press are like bloody vultures”.

Earlier Selebi, the former head of the South African Police Service and Interpol president, was convicted on one count of corruption by Judge Meyer Joffe.

In response National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said “we presented a formidable case against the accused.
For us this judgement is an example of the proper administration of justice.”

Asked for comment Selebi (60) said he had “nothing, absolutely nothing” to say as he left the court.

Selebi now faces the prospect of spending 15 years in prison as the crime of corruption carries a minimum sentence in South Africa.

Joffe postponed sentencing procedures to July 14.

In his judgement, Joffe rejected Selebi’s defence of a conspiracy against him by the Scorpions, and accepted the state’s argument that Selebi was corrupted by convicted drug-trafficker Glenn Agliotti.

In return for R1,2-million and clothes for him and his family, Selebi showed Agliotti top secret reports and attended meetings with underworld characters whenever Agliotti wanted him to.

Joffe slammed Selebi in his judgement, encouraging other police officers not to “emulate” his behaviour.

“It is never pleasant to make an adverse credibility finding against a witness. His word cannot be relied upon again. The stigma remains forever. It is even more unpleasant to make that finding against a person who is the head of the SAPS.

“Every day society in general rely on the honesty and truthfulness of policemen and -women ... It is not an example that must be emulated by members of the SAPS. A great deal of trust is placed on their integrity and credibility.”

While saying this, Selebi was shaking his head in the dock.

ML

ML

Matuma Letsoalo is a senior politics reporter at the Mail & Guardian. He joined the newspaper in 2003, focussing on politics and labour, and collaborated with the M&G's centre for investigations, amaBhungane, from time to time.In 2011, Matuma won the South African Journalist of the Year Award and was also the winner in the investigative journalism category in the same year.In 2004, he won the CNN African Journalist of the Year prize – the MKO Abiola Print Journalism Award. Matuma was also a joint category winner of the Mondi Shanduka SA Story of the year Award in 2008. In 2013, he was a finalist for Wits University's Taco Kuiper Award.
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