FORMER national police commissioner Jackie Selebi, convicted of corruption, will be released from prison on Friday, Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele announced in Pretoria.

"Mr Selebi will be going home today (Friday)," he told a media briefing in Pretoria.

"The department has limited capacity to provide for palliative care needed by some offenders," he said.

Palliative care meant Selebi would be kept comfortable until his death, as there was no hope of him recovering.

An 11-member medical parole advisory board met on June 20 and recommended the release of six offenders, including Selebi. Three of them had since died, Mr Ndebele said.

The minister said all offender and remand detainees had the right to adequate healthcare services, as enshrined in the constitution.

"In terms of the Correctional Services Act, the department must provide healthcare services and refer patients to external healthcare facilities for secondary and tertiary levels of healthcare," he said.

The Correctional Services Act was reviewed, with the Correctional Matters Amendment Act approved in May last year. According to Section 29A and B of the act, an offender, nurse, medical practitioner, spouse, guardian or legal representative could apply for parole on a detainee's behalf.

Criteria for medical parole included a terminal, chronic or progressive medical condition, which had caused permanent or irreversible deterioration to the detainee's state of physical health.

Medical parole advisory board chairman Dr Victor Ramathesele said Selebi's condition qualified him for medical parole.

"As the medical parole advisory board we examine every applying patient. We went to Steve Biko hospital and found him to be at the end stages of renal disease, undergoing perennial dialysis daily," he said.

James Selfe, Democratic Alliance spokesperson for correctional services, said it was important to ensure that proper procedure was followed when the decision on Selebi's medical parole was made.

"The old criteria limited medical parole to those who suffered from a terminal illness," he said. "This made it hard to determine who deserved medical parole. We need to ensure that procedures to ensure the interests of the victims are considered take place, including a hearing to decide these matters."

Mr Selfe said he would question Mr Ndebele on this in the National Assembly.

Selebi was the president of Interpol at the time of the investigation of claims that he received money from convicted drug trafficker and police informer Glenn Agliotti.

He was convicted of corruption on July 2 2010 and handed a 15-year jail sentence.

Selebi appealed against the corruption conviction in the Supreme Court of Appeal but his appeal was denied in December 2011. He collapsed at his home in Waterkloof, Pretoria, while watching the judgment on television.

It was decided he would stay in the medical wing of Pretoria Central Prison indefinitely as he suffered from diabetes and kidney disease. Doctors who were treating Selebi at Steve Biko Academic Hospital said his medical management was complicated.

"It was apparent from his admission that Mr Selebi had various chronic illnesses and thus needed constant medical care by suitably qualified practitioners. Because of his poor health prognosis and soaring hypertension levels, as well as unstable and uncontrollable sugar diabetic levels, he was referred to the Steve Biko Academic Hospital on December 12," correctional services commissioner Tom Moyane said at the time.

With Khulekani Magubane