Cele reacts to ‘misleading’ Sunday Times report

2010-08-03 10:06

Police commissioner General Bheki Cele has defended the need for

new premises with a lease of R500 million over 10 years.

At a briefing to clarify an “incorrect and, worse, misleading”

Sunday Times article, Cele told the media in Pretoria on Tuesday (August 3, 2010) that he did not sign the lease agreement for an 18-storey building in the

capital city, but only signed a needs assessment.

“Let me stress that this is where my role as the accounting officer

for the SA Police Service ends.”

Cele also denied that he knew businessman Roux Shabangu, who owned

the building.

He said he was perturbed by the fact that a reputable newspaper

could publish incorrect information.

He said that as general of the police, he endeavoured to enforce

the code of conduct.

“I must, however, indicate that unwarranted negative publicity can

drive one into the debate of a media tribunal.

It is such ill experiences that

can drive one to pose the question: is this a calculated targeted campaign in

the name of media freedom?”

Cele said he would be approaching the SA National Editors’ Forum

(Sanef) about the article to discuss what he felt had been a unanimous agreement

on the principles of professionalism.

“It is on that shared view that I will again raise the matter with

Sanef.

They cannot be silent when media houses are deliberately disregarding the

fundamental ideals of journalism,” said Cele.

The Sunday Times reported that Cele had signed a R500 million

property rental deal that would see police headquarters move to the Middestad

Sanlam Centre in Pretoria, which was owned by Shabangu.

According to the report, the deal was not treated as a tender,

violating treasury regulations that all government contracts worth more than

R500 000 go through a bid process.

The report said Shabangu allegedly signed the rental lease with

Cele on June 1, but only purchased the building on Wednesday for R220 million.

The police’s current headquarters was the Wachthuis building around

the corner.

On Tuesday, the Department of Public Works said there was nothing

untoward about the deal.


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