Mbeki: I did not try stop Selebi arrest

Mbeki says at no time did he try to stop the NPA & the Scorpions from trying to charge or arrest Selebi.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Former President Thabo Mbeki says the real reason people claimed he tried to protect former National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi in 2007 was because they wanted to discredit his government.

He's used his weekly newsletter to again deny that he suspended former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Advocate Vusi Pikoli to stop him from charging Selebi.

Selebi was eventually convicted of corruption for his relationship with drugs dealer Glenn Agliotti.

In his Facebook post, Mbeki says that at no time did he try and stop the NPA and the Scorpions, from trying to charge or arrest Selebi.

He say the only issue of dispute with Pikoli was whether he should wait for one week, or two, before using his warrants against the former commissioner.

Mbeki says that he needed at least two weeks to make sure that police officers wouldn't get involved in an actual shooting war with members of the Scorpions, when they went to search through police files.

Pikoli insisted on ahead after one week, and so Mbeki suspended him to stop a national security crisis.

The former president says the claim he was "subverting" the Constitution was used to promote a particular, partisan political objective.