Selebi sentenced to 15 years

Former police chief Jackie Selebi was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment by Judge Meyer Joffe in the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday, who called him an “embarrassment to South Africa and the police”.

Joffe compared corruption to a cancer, saying it destroys the moral fibre of a nation. “The damage has already been done. Just as a malignancy may be removed, society is not what it was prior to the corrupt act. The moral fibre of society has to be rebuilt.”

Selebi was released on bail of R20 000 pending his application for leave to appeal his conviction and sentence.

His advocate, Jaap Cilliers, indicated he would apply for leave to appeal within the next 14 days. This means Selebi will not be incarcerated until this application and his subsequent appeal, if leave is granted by Joffe, are finalised.

In a hard-hitting judgement, Joffe said there were no compelling and substantial reasons why Selebi should be sentenced for less than the minimum 15 years prescribed for law-enforcement officers convicted of corruption.


During his judgement, Joffe addressed Selebi directly about his performance in the witness box. “Mr Selebi, you were an embarrassment in the witness box. You were an embarrassment to the office you occupied … You must be an embarrassment to those who appointed you; you must have been an embarrassment to members of the SAPS you served.”

According to Joffe, policemen and women work in harsh conditions and deserve better than a corrupt national commissioner.

“You must have been an embarrassment to all right-thinking citizens of this country. They deserve more than what they got … There can be no doubt that all the people of South Africa would join in rejecting a national commissioner found to be an untruthful witness.”

Joffe also slammed Selebi for lying to the court and manufacturing evidence. “You embarrassed the court,” a visibly upset Joffe said.

The judge criticised Selebi’s “flagrant mendacity”. At no stage did Selebi display “any indication of remorse. But it goes further than remorse; he [Selebi] lied and fabricated evidence to escape the consequences. He eroded much of the sympathy for him.”

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga afterward congratulated the prosecutors, saying the sentencing was an appropriate warning to all police officers “to fight any temptation to carry out corruption”.

‘No fallen angel’

Earlier, Selebi came into court alone, looked relaxed and joking with a photographer who took pictures of him sitting in the dock. Selebi was followed by his wife, Anne, brother George and other family members.

Joffe convicted Selebi of corruption on July 2.

On Monday, chief state prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked Joffe to sentence Selebi for more than the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years. Selebi, according to Nel, was no “fallen angel”. He never showed remorse or admitted acting unlawfully. He was the head of the police service and betrayed his own legacy.

Selebi’s counsel, Jaap Cilliers, argued that Selebi had already suffered enough through all the negative media coverage since 2006, that he was disgraced in the eyes of the public and was “financially destroyed”, having to pay the state back millions of rands in legal fees.

Joffe convicted Selebi of accepting bribes worth R166 000 from drug dealer Glenn Agliotti in exchange for showing him top secret police reports. Shortly after being found guilty, the Asset Forfeiture Unit successfully applied for the confiscation of Selebi’s assets worth R230 000, which included the R166 000 he received from Agliotti plus interest.

The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, supported by M&G Media and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, produced this story.www.amabhungane.co.za.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Corruption crackdown

The state plans to convict 100 corrupt people who have each stolen more than R5-million through tender fraud over the next three-and-a-half years.

Selebi judge defied death threats

The judge hearing former police chief Jackie Selebi's corruption case was placed under 24-hour police protection after receiving death threats.

Gembella: Focus falls on Krejcir and Co

The investigation into the death of German businessman Uwe Gemballa is focusing on a circle of people around Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir.

Prisons tender U-turn

Correctional services fighting to keep disputed catering contract.

Roux Shabangu and the Land Bank loot

The businessman who stands to make a fortune from controversial leasing deals with the police is himself the target of a police investigation.

Selebi’s fight-back strategy

Former police chief Jackie Selebi is pinning his hopes of staying out of jail on a criminal probe into Glenn Agliotti's tax affairs.
Advertising

Subscribers only

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

More top stories

Hawks swoop down with more arrests in R1.4-billion corruption blitz

The spate of arrests for corruption continues apace in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Catholic NGO boss accused of racism and abuse in Sudan

The aid worker allegedly called his security guard a ‘slave’

Agrizzi too ill to be treated at Bara?

The alleged crook’s “health emergency” — if that is what it is — shows up the flaws, either in our health system or in our leadership as a whole

SANDF hid R200m expenditure on ‘Covid’ drug it can’t use

Military health officials are puzzled by the defence department importing a drug that has not been approved for treating coronavirus symptoms from Cuba
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday