Witness avoiding Cele hearing
Pretoria - The public works ministry would to be asked to help ensure the appearance of a key witness in an inquiry into the conduct of suspended national police commissioner Bheki Cele.
Public works official Mokgaetji Tlolane was delaying proceedings, board of inquiry chairperson Judge Jake Moloi said on Thursday.
"Tlolane delays the proceedings by applying... tactics already put on record.
"The board had a discussion with the legal teams and resolved that this issue be taken up at the ministerial level in order to ensure the appearance of this witness in this board."
Tlolane had been eluding evidence leader Viwe Notshe since Monday. She initially said she had to be subpoenaed to appear and that she needed an instruction from her superiors to do so.
Moloi said her evidence appeared to be important and he adjourned the hearing to Friday.
Notshe said he needed to call Tlolane to eliminate the probability that property mogul Roux Shabangu could have been tipped off by public works officials that the police needed office space.
The board was appointed by President Jacob Zuma in October to determine whether Cele acted improperly in relation to two leases signed with Shabangu for police office space in Pretoria and Durban.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela made negative findings about his role last year.
Shabangu has identified Tlolane as the one who informed him that the police wanted to lease the Sanlam Middestad building in Pretoria.
This is reportedly contained in a 60-page affidavit Shabangu aims to use to absolve himself of any wrongdoing in the police lease saga.
Shabangu claims Tlolane arranged the first meeting with the SA Police Service, and told him the matter would not go out to tender because of its urgency.
Cele has consistently claimed he had nothing to do with identifying the two buildings - Sanlam Middestad in Pretoria and Transnet in Durban - for police office space.
On Monday, Notshe told the board Tlolane, whose identity he declined to reveal at the time, was not willing to testify without a subpoena. The board cannot issue one as it is not a sitting court of law.
Tlolane was about to sign a statement presented to her, when a union official advised her not do so with without a subpoena.
Notshe said on Thursday he spent the whole of Wednesday trying to get her to sign the statement and to agree to appear. However, she said she needed a letter from her employer, the public works department.
A regional manager and the chief of staff in the public works minister’s office tried to give her a letter authorising her to sign the statement, Notshe said.
"But we later on found out she hadn’t signed the statement. She told us she wanted a letter that guaranteed she would not be charged."