Thabo Mbeki has extended the contract of suspended national police commissioner Jackie Selebi by 12 months, reports say.
This is despite various charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice that Selebi is currently facing. The national police commissioner, who is formally on extended leave, is due to appear in court tomorrow (Friday).
In a statement issued by cabinet following a meeting on Wednesday it said that Selebi’s reappointment would take effect on July 1, 2008.
Cabinet said, “The National Commissioner will remain on leave pending the finalisation and outcome of his court case. Mr [Timothy] Williams will continue to act as the National Commissioner of SAPS. This decision was based on the need to allow due process to be concluded before a final decision could be taken on the future of his employment contract with the State.”
But this has drawn condemnation in South Africa.
Reacting to the shock news Sandra Botha MP, the DA’s parliamentary leader, condemned the decision, describing it as “yet another indication that Mbeki cannot act impartially in his dealings with Selebi.”
Selebi was placed on extended leave by Mbeki in January this year.
He also resigned as head of Interpol.
Challenging the law
This followed a failed attempt by Selebi, with the assistance of the National Intelligence Agency, to interdict the National Prosecuting Authority from instituting criminal charges against him.
This failed, after Judge Nico Coetzee dismissed the application on January 11, ruling that the NPA had a compelling prima facie case against Selebi.
At the time Mbeki said that Selebi himself “was of the view that this should happen so that whatever should happen in the courts about him, he ought not to be sitting at Police Headquarters because it would be easy to misinterpret that and this would likely to have a negative impact on the work of the NPA.”
Selebi is facing various charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice.
These relate to what the NPA claims was a “longstanding general corrupt relationship” between him and the businessman Glenn Agliotti, during which Selebi is alleged to have accepted a sum of R1,2m in payments in return for various favours.
Selebi denies the charges.