Mail and Guardian

Selebi was paroled on Friday, after serving only two years of his 15-year jail sentence for corruption. The disgraced former police chief, who has final stage renal failure and requires dialysis, is gravely ill but he has by no means been “sent home to die”, as some have claimed.

James Smalberger, chief deputy commissioner for corrections said Selebi had been released in terms of section 79.1 (a) of the Correctional Matters Amendment Act.

“The expectation or requirement is not like the previous act, that you need to die tomorrow,” said Smalberger.

The Act states that a prisoner may be considered for medical parole if he or she is “terminally ill or physically incapacitated as a result of injury, disease or illness, so as to severely limit daily activity or inmate self-care”.

Selebi falls into the latter category.

Although medical parole may be cancelled under certain conditions, an improvement in health is not one of these conditions.

“If he recovers, the family will be happy,” he said. “Let’s hope that all those who are released at least find themselves recovering to a stage where they can have a decent [quality of] life.”

Selebi was one of six offenders released on medical parole by a new medical parole advisory board, which was set up to address what the department calls the “inconsistent implementation” of medical parole procedures.

The medical parole system was criticised after convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik, the former financial advisor of President Jacob Zuma, was released in 2010. Shaik was released on the bases of a report to the parole board, drawn up by a correctional services doctor, which showed he was in end stage multiple organ failure and terminal illness. But its accuracy was later called into question. The doctor did not examine Shaik herself but based her findings on recommendations of Shaik’s private doctors. Read more…