It is wrong to suggest Mbeki protected Selebi

I REFER to the letter by Pierre de Vos (Sowetan July 5 ) in which he attempts to link the guilty verdict of Jackie Selebi in his recent corruption trial to former president Thabo Mbeki.

I REFER to the letter by Pierre de Vos (Sowetan July 5 ) in which he attempts to link the guilty verdict of Jackie Selebi in his recent corruption trial to former president Thabo Mbeki.

De Vos attempts to attack Mbeki's integrity by questioning why he protected Selebi from prosecution even in the face of overwhelming evidence presented to him by the former national director of public prosecutions, Vusi Pikoli.

De Vos further questions Mbeki's judgment on appointing Selebi in that post in the first place. He suggests that were it not for the existence of the Scorpions, Selebi would possibly still be the commissioner of police.

De Vos also holds the view that many hold, that Selebi's trial and subsequent conviction vindicates the view that it was a setback for the fight against crime to abolish the Scorpions.

Mbeki never protected Selebi from prosecution. Mbeki was also bound by the same labour laws that protect all employees in this country. It was for this reason that he kept on probing the National Prosecuting Authority for information to decide on Selebi's alleged links with the criminal underworld.

The evidence Mbeki asked for had to go beyond just being a rumour or suspicion.

It has happened so many times that individuals in high positions of government get dismissed or suspended from duty on the strength of flimsy innuendoes and malicious agendas, only for them to turn and sue the state for millions of rands for unfair dismissal at the expense of the taxpayer.

Lastly, it is a very lame shot at Mbeki to suggest that he should have foreseen that Selebi would get entangled with criminals once appointed as top cop.

Don Shongwe, Randburg

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