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DISGRACED former top cop Jackie Selebi is a very sick man and has suffered a stroke, a pulmonary embolism and has had two infections that prevented him from getting dialysis, the medical parole advisory board told MPs yesterday.
Selebi, who was paroled recently on medical grounds, is also suffering from a “disease of the eyes” and can’t see properly, deputy chairwoman of the board Dr Angelique Coetzee told Parliament’s oversight committee on correctional services yesterday.
The committee was discussing general matters around medical parole and whether the correct procedures had been followed when Selebi was granted medical parole after serving only 229 days of his 15-year sentence for corruption.
“This is the last time we speak about the Selebi case. We’ve had a lot of debate on Mr Selebi. He also had a stroke earlier this year and there’s evidence of this in the MRI. He also had pulmonary embolism and a disease of the eyes, so he can’t see properly,” said Coetzee.
He also suffered from a motor function impairment, she said.
Coetzee added that Selebi, who was released on July 20 because of chronic renal failure, had chosen not to raise his health as an issue during his trial. “He was treated long before his trial by a well-known physician in Pretoria. He was aware. There was no favouritism,” Coetzee said.
ANC MP Vincent Magagula said: “It was very clear from day one when Selebi got to prison that this man is ill. He’s not the first inmate to be released on medical parole.”
Selebi was released under a new, stricter medical parole regime contained in the Correctional Matters Amendment Act, which was passed last year.
James Selfe (DA), alluding to the medical parole granted to President Jacob Zuma’s former financial adviser Schabir Shaik after he was sentenced to 15 years in jail for fraud and corruption, said the credibility of the medical parole process had been dented by previous high-profile cases. “The credibility of the medical parole system as a whole was derived from the old system,” said Selfe.
High-profile members of the ruling party who were as “fit as a fiddle” had been seen playing golf after being released, he said.
Velaphi Ndlovu, of the IFP, asked what would happen to other prisoners who were not fully aware of their rights under the new medical parole system.
Cope MP Paul Mnguni asked whether Selebi’s medical condition had been noted before his arrest and incarceration. “Record before arrest is important. The process is now dented and we need to try to resuscitate it,” said Mnguni.
The committee also touched on the medical parole of Shaik, who has been seen playing golf and “shadow boxing” since his release and the possibility of medical parole for Chris Hani’s killer Clive Derby-Lewis, who has prostate cancer. “The media confused the public about Derby-Lewis,” said Magagula.
Correctional Services National Commissioner Tom Moyane said the department had not received any medical parole applications from Derby-Lewis’s family.
He was responding to reports that Derby-Lewis’s wife, Gaye, had begun the process of applying for medical parole. “We haven’t received anything. We hear this all in the media,” said Moyane.
Shaik had been released under the previous process, before legislative amendments came into effect, he said.
“So we can’t review the process,” said Moyane.