Prosecutors said that they hoped that the sentencing of former South African national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi to 15 years in prison would ‘send a strong message that corruption will not be tolerated’ in the country.
Selebi’s part in accepting bribes from convicted drug dealer Glenn Agliott consequently sends out a clear warning to senior officials. This tough sentence – the minimum recommended for senior police officers found guilty of corruption – drives home a clear warning that no one is above the law.
Selebi, who has also acted as the former president of Interpol and was well connected amongst the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, has had some tremendous accomplishments in the past; however such achievements do not condone his abject failures exposed in this case.
Given the seniority of his position as an enforcer of the law, Selebi wavered his authority the moment he agreed to turn a blind eye to what Agliott was doing and Meyer had little choice but to impose the tough sentence. ‘I am satisfied that a sentence of 15 years imprisonment is appropriate in the matter,’ he said in the courtroom on Tuesday 3rd August. It is encouraging to see the levers of justice operating without fear or favour in South Africa.