Selebi is not faking his illness — lawyer

Convicted former police chief Jackie Selebi’s health does not look good and he needs the medical attention he is currently receiving at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital, his lawyer Wynanda Coetzee said on Friday.

‘The last time I visited him in hospital, he looked seriously ill, though I am not at liberty to tell you the nature of the illness,” said Coetzee.

She said Selebi’s family had asked her not to divulge the illness.

Asked whether there were indications on how long Selebi would be in hospital, Coetzee said: ‘I’m a legal person and a layman when it comes to medical matters but to me it doesn’t seem like he will be released from hospital soon. It’s impossible for me to know when at this point but I’m sure the doctors will know.

‘I’ve been there (at the hospital) and I’ve seen him. It’s not like the man is pretending or something, his health is not good,” she said in response to ongoing speculation suggesting Selebi could be faking illness to stay out of jail.

Coetzee said she did not know about the ‘new developments” given as the reason for the postponement of a media briefing by Correctional Services Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, which was set for Friday.

Consultation with doctors
National Press Club chairman Yusuf Abramjee said the briefing was postponed due to “new developments” and the need for consultations with doctors.

A new date would be announced later.

Selebi, 61, was taken to the nephrology (kidney) ward of the northern Pretoria hospital on Monday morning under armed guard. The department said he was undergoing tests.

The New Age newspaper on Thursday reported that Selebi’s health was deteriorating fast. The report, citing unnamed “well-placed sources”, said the former police chief was having dialysis for kidney failure every four hours.

The disgraced former police chief was booked into prison on December 5 to start a 15-year jail term. He was found guilty of corruption after he accepted money from convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti, and giving him benefits that included showing him a British drug investigation report.

Selebi was president of Interpol at the time.

His appeal against his corruption conviction failed in the Supreme Court of Appeal on December 2.

Selebi watched the judgment on television at home and collapsed when he heard the outcome, Coetzee said at the time. — Sapa

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