Jackie Selebi, former National Police Commissioner, has become the first Interpol President to be found guilty of corruption, which is an extreme embarrassment to our country. At the same time the successful prosecution of a police commissioner speaks highly of a healthy criminal justice system that is impartial and fair and on that count our democracy is certainly safe. The guilty verdict of Jackie Selebi on charges of corruption comes after a lengthy court process, which saw events ranging from Simelane's seeming interference in his arrest, the arrest and then dropping of charges of the State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, and the State Security Department, including the Minister of State Security attempting to prevent testimony in court. Justice has now prevailed.
This verdict also highlights the problem of corruption at the very highest levels of South Africa's government and administration where cadre deployment has long placed dishonest individuals in positions of power and authority. It is particularly unacceptable in the police service, as the police are the very people charged with enforcing the law and if the person heading that institution is corrupt, then the example set is most dangerous. For South Africa's top cop to be found guilty of corruption is an enormous indictment on those who put him there.
Steps now need to be taken to ensure that high-level corruption is rooted out and prevented in future. We will be studying the judgment in full and assessing its implications.