Building could cost cops R612m
Pretoria - The police are preparing to write off R612m for the controversial Pretoria head office leasing deal – if the court rules against it.
The deal, which may lead to General Bheki Cele’s suspension by President Jacob Zuma, could be cancelled after the department of public works sought a declaratory order on its legality from the high court.
In the police’s 2010/11 yearly report, to be tabled before Parliament on Tuesday, the Pretoria lease with property mogul Roux Shabangu’s company is included in the financial statements as a contingent liability, which means a loss may be recorded depending on the court’s ruling.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found Cele unlawfully entered into the deal to lease the Sanlam Middestad building in Pretoria from Roux Property Fund.
Madonsela declared the lease unlawful in February and asked Zuma to take action against Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde.
Zuma is still deciding on the case.
Cele and Mahlangu-Nkabinde were due to appear before the portfolio committees on police and public works on Monday with Madonsela in attendance, but the meetings were cancelled on Friday.
ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga received a proposal to postpone the meeting because some members of the committees were unavailable.
Mahlangu-Nkabinde also failed to attend a meeting to discuss the lease with the public works committee in August.
The yearly report also reveals that police face claims totalling over R11bn – up from about R7.5bn in the last financial year.
The claims include R8.5bn due to police action in the past year.
Irregular expenditure of nearly R100m was incurred, including R12m spent on artists and performers.
The SA Communist Party owes the police R22 000, which has been outstanding since 2009/10.
The report also shows that 476 police officers were charged with corruption, defeating the ends of justice, fraud, aiding an escapee, bribery and extortion in the past year.
Of these 263 were suspended (215 without pay and 48 with salary) while another 213 were not suspended.
A total of 479 corruption charges were brought against cops – three police officers were charged with more than one crime and 81 were dismissed for misconduct.
Police ministry spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said appropriate action will be taken against any public servant responsible if the R612m for the Pretoria building lease is spent.
“We have consistently emphasised that those in charge of the department’s management, whether financial, human resource or day-to-day running of police stations, must do their jobs thoroughly,” Mnisi said.
He said the ministry was beginning to see improvements, but more needed to be done. He added the department did not condone police brutality or involvement of police in criminal acts.
“Over the past two years we have put stringent measures, both legislative and operational, against corrupt officers wherein those who do not uphold the law, have been arrested, sentenced and even dismissed from the SAPS,” he said.
Mnisi said the campaign of exposing and ridding the SAPS of “tsotsi-cops” had no time frame and to a large extent it was through public tip offs that such elements were nabbed.