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selebi must go now - minister

By unknown | Apr 15, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa says Jackie Selebi must go now, and is blaming President Kgalema Motlanthe for failing to appoint a new police commissioner.

Mthethwa will be expressing his views on Selebi's future on's The Big Debate programme which airs tonight at 9pm on the eNews channel.

Mthethwa says one of his priorities when he took over last September was to appoint a permanent police commissioner to replace Selebi, who has been on special paid leave for the past 15 months while facing corruption and racketeering charges.

In response to a barrage of questions from the panel why he hasn't made "the right moral decision, and taken Selebi out completely" Mthethwa says, "From our point, we have done just that. The appointment of the commissioner rests with the president of the Republic of South Africa."

Mthethwa asked Motlanthe more than three months ago to axe Selebi, whose contract runs until July this year.

He says tackling the country's high crime rate is challenging without a permanent police commissioner in place.

"You don't have stability in terms of command and control, and obviously you will have challenges," says Mthethwa.

But yesterday Motlanthe's spokesperson Thabo Masebe said: "There are no plans to axe Selebi. Our position is still the same - that Jackie Selebi remains on special leave."

Deputy police commissioner Tim Williams is standing in for Selebi. Last year it was revealed that Selebi regularly visited Williams at police headquarters.

Meanwhile, three Kliptown petty criminals who appear on the show - Jomo, Tony and Bobo - say the government must either improve their lives, or order the police to "shoot to kill".

One of the self-confessed criminals, who says he still snatches tourists' handbags near Freedom Square in Soweto, says: "We are not scared of going to jail. My message to Nathi Mthethwa is that he must do something to improve our lives."

"If he wants to stop crime, he mustn't arrest us because when we get out of prison we are going to start again.

"They must shoot to kill. It's the only way to stop crime. Shoot to kill or give us jobs," says Jomo.

The Big Debate will be aired again on on Friday at 10.55am. It can also be viewed online at


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