Selebi 'given special care'

Jackie Selebi
Jackie Selebi

INDICATIONS are that disgraced former police boss Jackie Selebi may have received preferential treatment when he was admitted to a Pretoria hospital last year.

Selebi was taken to Steve Biko Academic Hospital for kidney dialysis late last year soon after the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the Johannesburg High Court decision sentencing him to 15 years behind bars for corruption.

Replying to a question yesterday in the Gauteng legislature, health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe said 82 patients were on the waiting list for chronic dialysis at the hospital.

DA caucus leader Jack Bloom told Sowetan that there were 68 people on the waiting list when Selebi began his treatment. Mekgwe denied Selebi had received special favours ahead of other patients "because there were none".

Asked to explain the treatment received by Selebi, Mekgwe declined to answer. "I'm sure the member is trying his luck," she said in response to Bloom's question.

"He will know that there is something called patient-doctor confidentiality."

Meanwhile, community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko was told she did not know her job. Mazibuko, often conspicuous by her absence from the legislature, was chided by her counterpart in the opposition - Kate Lorimer - after she declined to answer a question.

Lorimer had asked Mazibuko to explain the status of the criminal case against the driver who ran over Thomas Ferreira, the Krugersdorp teenager who went into a coma after his motorbike was knocked over by an official government car carrying local government and housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi last year.

Lorimer further asked Mazibuko whether disciplinary action had since been taken against the driver, and if not "why not?"

Mazibuko, addressing Lorimer in Xhosa, said she could not answer the question.

She said she did not understand the question because Lorimer had not been specific about which law enforcement agency she was referring to in her question.

Lorimer indicated that the driver who was allegedly responsible for the crash was a member of the police.

Mazibuko's failure to answer the question drew an angry response from Lorimer.

"I am shocked," she said.

"Your job is to have oversight. I want you to go to the family (Ferreira) and tell them that (you can't answer the question). I am disgusted at your response, or lack thereof. It shows that you don't know your job."

A stunned Mazibuko offered little by way of a comeback. Instead, she cautioned Lorimer against "increasing your blood pressure".

Mazibuko's quip drew laughter from the ruling party benches but derision from the opposition side.