Selebi's release haunts minister
MEMBERS of Parliament have slammed the government's handling of the release of former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi on medical parole, saying the process followed has tainted the credibility of the entire system.
MPs from across the political spectrum yesterday told Correctional Services Minister Sbu Ndebele and his senior officials that the process followed in releasing Selebi three weeks ago had not been transparent enough.
Selebi, who needs dialysis for kidney failure, was released from Pretoria Central Prison at the recommendation of an 11-member Medical Parole Advisory Board (MPAB).
He had served only 229 days of a 15-year prison sentence for corruption.
Critics suggest he enjoyed preferential treatment because of his membership of the ANC and the role he played in the Struggle.
DA MP James Selfe said Selebi's release had to be interrogated in view of the circumstances surrounding the medical parole granted to another top ANC member, Schabir Shaik. "The real problem we face is around the credibility of the medical parole system as a whole because we have a very clear situation of a particularly high-profile member of the ruling party who was as fit as a fiddle and swans around Durban playing golf and living the high life," Selfe said.
"So when another high-profile member of the ruling party is released on medical parole, you have a credibility problem. A person in the street does not believe that the system works properly."
Cope MP Bushy Mnguni said Ndebele and his team needed to convince the public that Selebi was not released because of his background in the ANC.
However, national commissioner of correctional services Tom Moyane strongly defended the decision to grant Selebi parole, saying the MPAB had overseen the entire process.
"In this particular instance, I believe we have done what is acceptable by law and within the parameters of ethics within which we practice," Moyane said.
He said his department had not received an application for medical parole from Clive Derby-Lewis, the man serving a life sentence for the murder of SACP general secretary Chris Hani.