Former South African president, Thabo Mbeki has been referred to as one who misused his powers while he was the president. One of the fingers pointing at him is in relation that he interfered in the case against an ex police commissioner, Jackie Salabi.
Jackie was accused of engaging in corrupt acts with an underworld tycoon Glenn Agliotti by collecting bribe worth the sum of R166‚000 from Agliotti in exchange for showing him top-secret police reports. Agliotti who was convicted of dealing in drugs later turned out an evidence against Jackie’s corrupt practices.
But it was said that the then President Thabo Mbeki interfered in the case by suspending the then national prosecutions boss Vusi Pikoli‚ who had wanted to execute search warrants on Selebi.
President Thabo Mbeki also told religious leaders in November 2006 that they should trust him on then National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi‚ and that he had no grounds to suspend him.
Mbeki was said to have compromised the proper functioning of the criminal justice system‚ with the aim to advance particular political objectives.
But almost a decade after his “trust me on Selebi” statement‚ Thabo Mbeki had today February 8th 2016, risen to speak against the controversial saga in his latest missive to the nation. He said ‘We never intervened to block the investigation‚ arrest and prosecution of the late National Commissioner of SAPS‚ Jackie Selebi.”
For many years now‚ some at home and abroad have propagated the view that during the period I was President of the Republic‚ I abused my power especially to compromise the proper functioning of our criminal justice system‚ with the objective to advance particular political objectives.
Specifically the charges have been made that I intervened with the relevant state organs in one instance to prohibit the prosecution of the late former National Commissioner of Police‚ Jackie Selebi‚ and in another to frustrate the political aspirations of President Jacob Zuma.
At some point‚ possibly in 2006‚ the then Scorpions‚ the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO)‚ decided to carry out some investigations into the South African Police Service (SAPS) arising from the murder of the former businessman‚ Mr Brett Kebble.
Again at some point during these investigations‚ the then National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP)‚ Adv Vusi Pikoli‚ and the Head of the Scorpions‚ Adv Leonard McCarthy‚ informed me about their investigations. They reported that they were not receiving any cooperation from the SAPS in terms of accessing documents in the possession of the latter.
In this context it is necessary to explain that by this time the relations between the NPA/NDPP/DSO and the SAPS had to all intents and purposes broken down‚ with these institutions treating one another as deadly enemies.
Naturally‚ despite this reality‚ I viewed it as my obligation as Head of State and Government to support and assist all state organs properly to discharge their Constitutional and Statutory responsibilities.
Accordingly I informed Advocates Pikoli and McCarthy that I would intervene with National Commissioner Selebi to ensure that the SAPS did not obstruct the NDPP and the DSO in their work.
One result of this undertaking was that I convened a meeting at the offices of the SAPS Crime Intelligence Division. Present at the meeting were National Commissioner Selebi‚ Head of SAPS Crime Intelligence‚ Commissioner Ray Lalla‚ NDPP Pikoli‚ DSO Head McCarthy‚ the Presidency DG‚ Rev Frank Chikane‚ and myself.
Having discussed the urgent matter which had been raised by the DSO‚ it was agreed that the latter could send its officers to examine the Crime Intelligence files at Crime Intelligence Headquarters‚ without taking these files out of the building or photocopying them…
Contrary to the blatantly false allegation that was made and has been sustained for many years‚ we never intervened to block the investigation‚ arrest and prosecution of the late National Commissioner of SAPS‚ Jackie Selebi. Instead we acted at all times to assist the NPA and the DSO to do their work‚ as determined and defined solely by them.
For those who have argued otherwise‚ with no facts to substantiate their positions‚ the real and fundamental matter at issue was not about the legitimate functioning of the criminal justice system‚ protected from illegal interference and abuse of power by the President‚ with the intension to shield the then National Commissioner Selebi from arrest and prosecution.
The real matter was about creating a particular political climate intended to discredit the Government of the day.
The purpose of this was to gain advantage by promoting the particular partisan political objective of convincing the people of South Africa that the President and the Government were determined to subvert our Constitution and democracy‚ with the aim to advance the interests of the ANC rather than those of the country and our people as a whole.
Former President Mbeki said he had to address the “long blatant lie” that the public had for long be holding against him. In 2010‚ Selebi‚ who was also a president of Interpol‚ was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment but which was later converted to medical parole. He died in January 2015.