On Thursday 10 January 2008, National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi went to court to force the hand of the National Prosecution Agency (NPA), the DSO (Scorpions) and the Minister of Justice (Brigitte Mabandla) after many months of threats and leaks by the NPA against him.
Judge President Bernard Ngoepe ordered that Selebi’s case should be decided by a full bench of the Pretoria High Court, if it was first decided in the court of Judge Nico Coetzee that the case was urgent. Following the NPA’s commitment in front of Judge Coetzee on Friday 11 January 2008, to now charge Commissioner Selebi, Coetzee struck Selebi’s action from the roll. It remains to be seen how much further delay by the NPA will be tolerated by the courts, now that the matter is before them at the highest possible level. This is what we must watch.
We must watch carefully because it appears that there is still no firm date for the hearing, or even for the charging of the National Commissioner. What we have is the announcement in court of an intention to charge. Justice delayed is justice denied. But at least this announcement provides a firm and concise basis for Commissioner Selebi to return to court at an early date, should the charge-sheet against him still not appear.
The revelations consequent upon Commissioner Selebi’s action, especially as reported by Alex Eliseev and Jovial Rantao in the Johannesburg Star on Friday, are sensational - see the five linked documents below. The most material consequence is the loss to the NPA of the witness they had groomed, or coerced, at the expense of the Brett Kebble and other investigations, namely Glenn Agliotti. Note that the reference, in the second last paragraph of the first article (“Selebi rocks Scorpions”) to the US FBI and CIA, was removed from later editions of the Star.
Bear in mind that the NPA had released Kebble’s three actual murderers, plus the person who procured the killing, Clinton Nasif, and made a plea-bargain deal with Agliotti (which is now abandoned by Agliotti). The NPA had sacrificed the Kebble investigation and another investigation into drug trafficking, in order to concentrate fire on the National Police Commissioner and bring him down, as part of the turf war with the police that the NPA has conducted since its founding in the second half of the 1990s.
President Mbeki handed Commissioner Selebi a poisoned chalice of apparent support by suspending the NPA Director Pikoli and by telling people to “trust” him, Mbeki, about Selebi. As a consequence of that (i.e. Mbeki’s apparent support for Selebi), and for no other visible reasons, COSATU took a stance of supporting Pikoli and opposing Selebi. From the standpoint of the Communist University, it looks as if COSATU has in this way been successfully “played” against Selebi by Mbeki, in a manoeuvre that is typical of Mbeki and his sidekick, Essop Pahad.
Commissioner Jackie Selebi is isolated, but brave. He has made sure of his personal legal support. The evidence he has is good, and the evidence that the NPA had is now worthless, or irredeemably tainted. The case for having one line of command in police matters, and not two warring agencies, is well made and fully supported by the ANC and its alliance partners, including COSATU. All of these matters indicate a tide running in favour of the National Police Commissioner. Against him are ranged two lots of dirty fighters: the NPA/Scorpions, and the Mail & Guardian newspaper, plus the now weak and rapidly disintegrating SABC circus. Other media players are fickle, and are willing to report Selebi’s side of the matter at least some of the time.
The NPA, with its “Hollywood”, its leaks, its reckless plea-bargains, its secret smear tactics and its unholy relation with the media, is not part of the law in this country. It is only a cancer on the law. The NPA is a actually a contemptible part of SA’s lawlessness problem. It is not “judiciary” in any sense. We do not need the NPA. We need the police. We must defend Commissioner Selebi, because we must above all save the police from the cancer of the NPA/Scorpions.
The courts have decided that Selebi must have his trial. Let it be now, and let it not be one of the ever-receding NPA drag-out performances. Already they are saying that they will charge Selebi and then suspend him, leaving him and the police defenceless, while the trial is put off and put off indefinitely. If the judiciary allows this to happen, we will know that the judiciary, too, is rotten.
Click on these links:
Selebi rocks Scorpions, Alex Eliseev, The Star (686 words)
‘Bulelani Ngcuka still controls some Scorpions’, Jovial Rantao The Star (433 words)
NPA sought to derail Nel probe - police, Alex Eliseev, The Star (270 words)
Scorpions withheld footage says Selebi, Alex Eliseev, The Star (389 words)
Selebi v NDPP, DSO and Justice Minister, January 2008, ex M&G (109KB PDF download)