Former police chief Jackie Selebi will have to wait until the first week of August to know if he will spend the next 15 years behind bars.
His sentencing hearing was postponed in the South Gauteng High Court on Wednesday after Selebi’s advocate, Jaap Cilliers, told the court his next witness for mitigation of sentence was not available until August 2.
The court found Selebi guilty of corruption on July 2.
Former provincial police commissioner for Mpumalanga and Limpopo Denn Alberts finished his evidence on Wednesday, telling the court Selebi was a “brilliant” leader, but also admitting honesty is the most important virtue for a chief of police.
Alberts started evidence after the court accepted an order by the Asset Forfeiture Unit to freeze R230 000-worth of assets of Selebi following his conviction on a charge of corruption.
Alberts had 39 years experience as a policeman and ended his career in 2005 as inspector general of the SAPS. He was recalled by Selebi to act in this position from 2006 to 2008.
The grey-suited Alberts, now retired, told the court that Selebi often visited police stations in rural areas and intervened when he thought there was a shortage of vehicles or cellphones. He also attended police roadblocks and scolded Gauteng provincial commissioner Perumal Naidoo for not having enough visible police vehicles on the roads in his province.
Senior police officers were often frustrated by Selebi’s open-door policy that saw junior policemen occupying his office for long periods.
Selebi knew what was happening on ground-level and Alberts recalled an incident where Selebi told the police to put up lights at an Alexandra taxi rank where the women’s toilets were covered in the dark
“I have great respect for him … He was a brilliant leader who taught me a lot.”
Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked Alberts what he thought of a policeman who took money from other people. “That is unacceptable,” Alberts replied.
Joffe found on July 2 that Selebi received money and gifts from drug dealer Glenn Agliotti. In exchange Selebi attended meetings at Agliotti’s beck and call and showed Agliotti top secret reports implicating him in crime.
It is expected another senior former colleague of Selebi’s will testify on August 2 as to why he should not be sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment. Legislation requires a minimum sentence of 15 years for law-enforcement officials convicted of corruption.
*This article was produced by amaBhungane, investigators of the M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, a nonprofit initiative to enhance capacity for investigative journalism in the public interest. www.amabhungane.org.