“He despised apartheid and its quest to keep African children as perpetual slaves and he understood the importance of education,” Mashatile said at the NG Kerk in Moreleta Park, Pretoria.
“Under difficult conditions when the liberation movement and others were banned, where our leaders were either in prison, or banished, or exiled, he opted to fight for his people.”
Selebi left his mark on South Africa and the world, Mashatile said.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said Selebi was instrumental in mobilising the youth in the fight against apartheid.
“Through comrade Jackie the SA Youth Congress (Sayco) was part of all the forums of the ANC… planning the demise of apartheid.”
“I’m standing here to represent the youth who took the baton [from Selebi].”
Selebi was central to the formation of Sayco while he was in exile.
Peters said Selebi made sure that the youth in South Africa worked together with the youth in exile.
Selebi had ensured that the youth organisations had enough resources in the form of money, “not small money”, she said.
Peters described him as a “gallant and fearless freedom fighter”.
Selebi died last Friday aged 64. He had reportedly suffered from diabetes and kidney problems.
He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment on August 3, 2010, for taking bribes from convicted drug dealer Glenn Agliotti.
The former head of Interpol started serving his sentence in 2011, after being found guilty of corruption in 2010. He was released from Pretoria central prison on medical parole less than a year later.