Parties want Cele gone

2012-05-25 14:58

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma must fire suspended police commissioner Bheki Cele, opposition political parties said on Friday.

According to media reports the board of inquiry into Cele's fitness to hold office recommended he be removed from his job.

The presidency however, warned journalists to "be cautious" in the way they report on the matter.

"The board has apparently found that Cele lacked the capacity to execute his official duties efficiently and was not fit to hold office," DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard said.

"President Zuma must act swiftly and decisively upon the recommendations of the board and sack Bheki Cele as top cop once and for all."

Cele denies wrongdoing

Zuma appointed the board in November to probe Cele's fitness to remain in office and allegations of misconduct relating to two leases for new police headquarters in Pretoria and Durban, which Cele signed with businessman Roux Shabangu.

Zuma suspended Cele in October 2011.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found Cele's action pertaining to the leases was improper, unlawful, and amounted to misconduct.

The team which led evidence against Cele in the inquiry called for his dismissal. He denies any wrongdoing.

Board of inquiry chairperson Judge Jakes Moloi presented the inquiry's report to Zuma on May 20.

The report "found Cele's misconduct as national police commissioner, and his apparent unlawful conduct", further proved he was unable to hold office, Kohler-Barnard said.

She said there was speculation that former ANC chief whip and current labour department director general Nkosinathi Nhleko would replace Cele.

Acting top cop ‘out of favour’ with Zuma

This, she said, did not bode well for the police, who had been virtually "crippled at the top" by Cele and former commissioner Jackie Selebi.

"The appointment of Adv Nhleko, another career politician with no experience in the police, would be disastrous," she said.

Acting police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi had apparently "fallen out of favour" with Zuma due to his growing and unexpected resistance to "executive interference".

"The president must demonstrate that fighting crime is a priority for government," Kohler-Barnard said.
The Congress of the People welcomed the board's "recommendation" to release Cele.

"This is a logical turn of events when people holding high office behave in the manner he did," the party said.

"Cele is yet another case that is painting a bleak picture for our hard-earned democracy."

Legal action

Cele's lawyer, Vincent Maleka, and spokesperson, Vuyo Mkhize, were unavailable for comment on Friday afternoon.

Mkhize however, was quoted in The Witness newspaper on Friday saying Cele would consider "all available avenues to challenge the validity of the report, including a review application to the high court".

Maleka said on Thursday he had not seen the inquiry's report, and so could not confirm whether it had been recommended that Cele be removed.

- SAPA
Read more on:    police  |  jacob zuma  |  bheki cele  |  police lease saga
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