DA welcomes Cele suspension report
Johannesburg - A report that national police commissioner General Bheki Cele would be suspended this week was a step in the right direction, the DA said on Sunday.
Democratic Alliance police spokesperson Diane Kohler Barnard said: "We find it extraordinary that the presidency has taken so long to act against Cele, as Public Protector [Thuli Madonsela] ruled he was guilty of maladministration."
The Sunday Times reported that Cele was expected to be handed a final letter of suspension this week when President Jacob Zuma returned from a visit to the United States.
Madonsela's first report, released in February, was on her investigation into the Sanlam building in Pretoria, leased for R500m. Her second report examined the R1.1bn agreement to lease Transnet Tower in Durban.
She found that the lease deal, signed with businessman Roux Shabangu, was concluded in an unlawful and improper way and that Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde be held responsible.
Madonsela called on Zuma to take action against them.
Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said last week that Zuma took the report seriously, which was why he had decided not to make a "hasty or haphazard" decision.
However, he was quoted in the newspaper as saying the lease deal scandal had "the potential for causing some uncertainty in the police force and that's not good".
Kohler Barnard said that if the Sunday Times report was true, it was appropriate that an experienced officer who worked his or her way up the police ranks be appointed to the post.
The last two "civilians" appointed to the position were embroiled in scandals, she said.
Mahlangu-Nkabinde last week filed papers in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in a bid to have the contracts declared null and void. She said the lease deal for police office space had been entered into before her appointment as minister.
The presidency was not avail to comment on Sunday.