Cele used pay-outs to get cronies jobs - union
Johannesburg - Suspended national police commissioner Bheki Cele had misused his authority by getting rid of police officers in positions earmarked for his friends, the SA Police Union (Sapu) said on Thursday.
"Sapu has always maintained the position that one should not mix politics and the police," general secretary Oscar Skommere said in a statement.
"The abuse of state money was always of great concern for Sapu especially when the national commissioner [Cele] was misusing his authority... to get rid of members in positions which he wants to earmark for other cronies,"
On Wednesday, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said he was investigating a slew of golden handshakes worth R31m given to policemen on Cele's watch.
He told MPs in Parliament that, in an attempt to stop long-running abuse of the police's special pensions system, he had decreed that the national commissioner may no longer award pay-outs without his approval.
Mthethwa's remarks follow controversy last month over a R1.1m pay-out given to former Gauteng crime intelligence chief Joey Mabasa, on top of his pension.
He was one of 19 policemen retrenched under section 35 of the act in the past two financial years. They received pay-outs totalling R31.2m.
Sapu said it regretted that the retrenchments would mean not only a R30m loss to the police budget, but would also have a long term influence on it.
This was because individuals would be remunerated in terms of the section 35 agreement at a much higher rate than normal until retirement.
Mthethwa said he was in the process of scrutinising every successful section 35 application in recent years, not to recover the money but to make sure people had not been released to cover up wrongdoing.
Amendments to the act would be fast-tracked and should reach Cabinet within months.
Cele was suspended by President Jacob Zuma last month over his role in the police headquarters scandal.
Mthethwa told MPs he had the fullest confidence in acting commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.