|Jacob "Jackie" Sello Selebi|
|Commissioner of the South African Police Service|
|Succeeded by||Bheki Cele|
March 7, 1950|
Johannesburg, South Africa
|Died||23 January 2015
Pretoria, South Africa
Jacob (The Polo) Sello Selebi (7 March 1950 – 23 January 2015) was the former national commissioner of the South African Police Service and the President of African National Congress Youth League 1987-1991, and a former president of Interpol. In January 2008, Selebi was put on extended leave as national police commissioner, and resigned as president of Interpol, after he was charged with corruption in his native South Africa. He was replaced as national commissioner in July 2009 by Bheki Cele. Selebi was found guilty of corruption on 2 July 2010  and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment on 3 August 2010. His appeal against his sentence was rejected by the Supreme Court of Appeal on 2 December 2011, after the court unanimously ruled against him. However, he was released on medical parole in July 2012.
In 1987 he was elected head of the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League while in exile in Zambia. In the same year, he was appointed to the National Executive Committee of the ANC. In 1991 he was made responsible for the repatriation of ANC exiles back into South Africa, and was appointed head of the Department of Welfare of the ANC in 1993. In 1994 he was elected as a Member of Parliament for the ANC.
From 1995 to 1998, Selebi served as the South African ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations.
In 1998, he was appointed Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pretoria, a post he held until 1999.
In 2000, he was made national commissioner of the South African Police Service, a post he held until 2009. During that time, he was elected vice-president of Interpol (African region) in 2002, as post he held until 2004.
In 2004, he was elected as president of Interpol, a post he held until 2008. During his time with Interpol, Selebi also served as Chair of the Anti-Landmine Conference, Oslo, Norway; Chair of Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster; and Chair - Human Rights Commission, United Nations, 54th Session.
He resigned both as National Police Commissioner and President of Interpol in 2008 when corruption charges were laid against him.
On 23 January 2015, after diagnoses of diabetes, kidney failure, and hypertension, Selebi died of a stroke, according to South African officials.
Response to crime rate
In 2007, Selebi was strongly criticised for responding to concern within the country over South Africa's rising crime rate with the comment "What's all the fuss about crime?"
On prostitution and drinking
In March of the same year, Selebi was also criticised for his suggestion to legalise prostitution and public drinking for the duration of the 2010 Soccer World Cup to be hosted in South Africa. Opposition political parties and Doctors For Life International expressed their dismay at Selebi's recommendation and called on parliament not to legalise prostitution or public drinking.
Friendship with drug lord
Selebi has admitted to a friendship with Glenn Agliotti, who was accused of murdering Brett Kebble. He also received a conviction and suspended sentence for his role in a multi-million Rand drug deal known as the 'Paparas' case. Despite being head of police at the time, Selebi claimed that he was oblivious that his friend was involved with crime.
Arrest on corruption charges
Then NPA head Vusi Pikoli was suspended for his pursuance of Selebi and his commitment to prosecuting the Police Chief.
Selebi made his first appearance in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on 1 February 2008 on charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice.
Evidence in court
During the trial, convicted drugs smuggler, Glenn Agliotti told the court that he had paid Selebi over R1.2 million ($157,000; £98,000) in bribes since 2000.
Agliotti testified that he had handed over cash-stuffed envelopes and bought handbags for Selebi's wife.
Agliotti said he had first met Selebi in 1990, when he was the head of the ANC's Social Welfare department, responsible for the repatriation of expatriates back to South Africa.
"Initially I would pay from my own money. I would put it in an envelope. It was small amounts - 5,000 rand, 10,000 rand, Agliotti testified. Two later payments, Agliotti continued, were worth R120,000 and R200,000 respectively.
"When the accused and I met, I enjoyed shopping and so did he. Him being my friend, I would instruct shop attendants to put all the clothes on my account," Agliotti testified. "For the accused's wife's birthday, I wanted to buy her a Louis Vuitton handbag from Sandton... a red patent one [that] cost 10,000 rand. [The] accused's wife came with me," he said.
In further testimony, Agliotti said he had been a go-between for Selebi and mining tycoon, Brett Kebble, who wanted Selebi to stop an investigation into his company and have charges against his father Roger dropped.
Selebi was found guilty of corruption on 2 July 2010, but not guilty of further charges of defeating the ends of justice.
Judge Meyer Joffe dismissed the defence's argument and said prosecutors had proven that Selebi had received money from Agliotti. "Having due regard to the poor quality of the accused's evidence, the accused's denial of receipt of the payment is not reasonably possibly true," Judge Joffe said. Furthermore, he found that Selebi had shown "complete contempt for the truth", including falsely accusing a witness of lying during the trial. "It is never pleasant to make an adverse credibility finding against a witness. It stigmatises the witness as a liar, a person of low moral fibre. It is a stigma that remains forever. It is so much more unpleasant to make such a finding against the person at the head of SAPS," Judge Joffe said, adding that Selebi had a low moral fibre and "cannot be relied upon."
Selebi was slated to be sentenced on 15 July, but the non-availability of character witnesses caused a postponement to 2 August 2010. On 3 August 2010 he was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment.
Selebi was released on R20,000 ($2,746) bail while his lawyers prepared an appeal. On 2 December 2011 the Supreme Court of Appeal unanimously rejected this appeal. Selebi collapsed at his Waterkloof home while watching the ruling on television. He began his fifteen-year prison term the following day.
An 11-member medical parole advisory board met on 20 June 2012 and recommended the release of six offenders, including Selebi, who needed dialysis for kidney failure. Correctional Services Minister Sbu Ndebele made the announcement at a press conference in Pretoria. "Six offenders were recommended for medical parole. Of these, two of the offenders were respectively released on the 9th and 12 of July 2012," said Ndebele. Selebi was released on medical parole having served just 219 days of his fifteen-year sentence. He remained at home in Waterkloof where he received dialysis for his kidney illness until his death.
John George Fivaz
|National Commissioner of the South African Police Service
2000–2009 (on leave from 1/2008)
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