What really happened to Jackie Selebi? Everything you need to know

What really happened to Jackie Selebi? Everything you need to know

Jackie Selebi is South Africa's former police chief who drew immense international attention after being convicted of corruption. He had been appointed police commissioner in 2000 by former South African president Thabo Mbeki. Here is everything you should know about him and his downfall.

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Who is Jackie Selebi?
Jackie Selebi was one of South Africa's distinguished political public figures best known as the former police head. Photo: ABDELHAK SENNA/AFP via Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Jackie Selebi was one of South Africa's distinguished political public figures in the pre and post-apartheid era. His resume was exceptional until corruption allegations were brought before him in 2008. So, what happened to him, and where is he now? Find out in this read.

Jackie Selebi's profile summary

  • Full name: Jacob Sello Selebi
  • Nickname: Jackie
  • Date of birth: 7th March 1950
  • Place of birth: Soweto, Johannesburg
  • Zodiac sign: Pisces
  • Jackie Selebi's age: 64 years (At the time of his death)
  • Died: 23rd January 2015
  • Cause of death: Stroke, Diabetes, and Kidney problems
  • Profession: Former SA Police Head
  • Nationality: South African
  • Education: University of the North
  • Wife: Anne Selebi
  • Jackie Selebi's children: Two

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Jackie Selebi's biography

Jackie Selebi's bio
Jackie Selebi was born in Soweto, Johannesburg. However, after graduating from the university, he moved to Zambia to teach history. Photo: Foto24/ Gallo Images/Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Selebi was a household name in South Africa's politics back in the 90s. Here is everything you should know about him.

How old is Jackie Selebi?

Jacob "Jackie" Sello Selebi was born on 7th March 1950 in Soweto, Johannesburg and was 64 years old at the time of his death.

Jackie Selebi's education profile

He attended the University of the North and graduated with a Bachelor's degree. He was a loved history teacher in the 80s at Mahlangu Freedom College (Somfaco) in Morogoro, Tanzania.

Still in the 80s, during the apartheid era, Sello served in Budapest, Hungary as a representative of the World Federation of Democratic Youth. In 1987, he was elected the head of the ANC Youth League and became a member of the party's national executive committee.

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At this time, he was in exile in Zambia. Years later, in 1991, he was responsible for the repatriation of ANC exiles back to South Africa. After returning from exile in Zambia, Sello became ANC's acclaimed civil servant. He was in 1993 appointed the head of ANC's Department of Welfare.

Government career

Jackie Selebi's government carer
Jackie Selebi started his government career as an ANC Member of Parliament after South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994. Photo: Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Sello became an ANC Member of Parliament after South Africa's first democratic elections were held in 1994. Sello was appointed South Africa's ambassador to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva shortly after.

The post opened more opportunities for him to chair two vital UN sessions. These were the 54th session of the Human Rights Commission and the Oslo Diplomatic Conference on a Convention Banning Anti-Personnel Landmines.

Sello also served as the South African Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1995 to 1998. He was appointed Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pretoria, in 1998 and only held the post until 1999.

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Still, in 1998, Jacob received a Human Rights Award from the International Service for Human Rights, thanks to his distinguished career as a diplomat. In addition, Sello was on 1st January 2000 appointed the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service by South Africa's former president Thabo Mbeki.

Was Jackie Selebi the head of Interpol?

Jackie Selebi's Interpol post
Jackie Selebi was elected Interpol's President in 2004 and served until 12th January 2008. Photo: @khayaxaba
Source: Instagram

Yes, he was. This was another of Jackie Selebi's previous offices and posts. He was elected the Vice President of Interpol (African region) in 2002. He held the post until 2004, when he was elected INTERPOL President until 12th January 2008. Unfortunately, Jackie Selebi's net worth remains a mystery.

What happened to Jackie Selebi?

Unfortunately, everything came crumbling down for Sello on 10th September 2007 when the National Prosecuting Authority issued a warrant of his arrest. The news, which shocked multitudes, had everyone asking the same question, "What did Jackie Selebi do?"

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His fall from grace and arrest was attributed to reports of corruption, racketeering, fraud, and defeating the ends of justice. In addition, he was criticized for dismissing comments on SA's rising crime rate earlier in the year.

Similarly, around March of the same year, he had been criticized for his suggestion to legalize prostitution and public drinking during the period of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, which was held in South Africa.

Jackie Selebi's case
Jackie Selebi was suspended by President Thabo Mbeki on 12th January 2008 through an "extended leave of absence due to his charges. Photo: Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

In light of all these, President Thabo Mbeki was forced to suspend Sello on 12th January 2008 through an "extended leave of absence." He appointed Timothy Charles Williams as an acting National Commissioner of Police.

Sello was put on extended leave as National Police Commissioner during his trial. However, he would eventually resign As Interpol's President after being charged with corruption in the country.

When was Jackie Selebi sentenced?

After several postponements, Sello's trial finally began on 8th April 2010, nearly two years after being charged. He admitted to a friendship with a convicted drug smuggler, Glenn Agliotti, a suspect in the murder of the mining tycoon Brett Kebble.

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He denied having known of his friend's crime association despite being head of police at the time. Agliotti told the court that he had paid Sello over R1.2 million in bribes since 2000.

He revealed the two met in 1990, and over time, Sello would ask for money to cover his medical bills. Agliotti added that the two would go shopping, and all of Sello's purchases would be charged to his account.

Jackie Selebi's sentencing

Sello was on 2nd July 2010 found guilty of corruption, but not of further charges of perverting the course of justice. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment the next day.

Jackie Selebi's death

Jackie Selebi's death
Jackie Selebi died in 2015 when receiving treatment. His cause of death was reported to be stroke, diabetes, and kidney problems. Photo: Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Two years after his sentencing, Sello was granted medical parole as he had diabetes and kidney disease. After being paroled, he returned to his home. Jackie Selebi's house was situated in Waterkloof, a Pretoria suburb.

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Jackie Selebi's wife, Anne, a nurse, supervised the dialysis. A year later, a South African newspaper reported that he was seen shopping around Pretoria.

However, he denied the claims. He died in a Pretoria hospital on 23rd January 2015. Jackie Selebi's cause of death was reportedly a stroke.

Jackie Selebi's funeral service

Although Selebi did not receive a state funeral, the ANC did pay for the former police chief's funeral and memorial service.

Jackie Selebi was South Africa's first black national police commissioner to be convicted of taking bribes from a drug dealer, Glenn Agliotti. As a result, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. However, he was paroled due to medical issues and sadly died in 2015 when receiving treatment.

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