Bheki Cele suspended over lease saga
Pretoria - National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation into "unlawful" police lease agreements, President Jacob Zuma announced on Monday.
"In August, I informed the national commissioner, General Bheki Cele, of my intention to institute a board of inquiry to look into the allegations of misconduct, in relation to the procurement of office accommodation for the South African Police Service, as per the findings and recommendations of the public protector," Zuma told reporters in Pretoria.
The board of inquiry will be led by retired Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, alongside advocates Terry Motau and Anthea Platt.
"I have also decided to suspend the national commissioner from duty with immediate effect, pending the outcome of the inquiry, in terms of section 8 (3) (a) read with Section 9 (1) of the South African Police Service Act.
"He will, during the period of suspension, be entitled to his full salary, allowances, privileges and benefits, in terms of Section 8(3)(b) of the Act."
Major General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi would act in Cele's position, Zuma said.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that Cele's actions involving the procurement of two building leases for new police headquarters, valued at R1.6bn, were unlawful and amounted to maladministration.
Zuma's announcement follows weeks of speculation on Cele's future, including a news report that would be offered a diplomatic post in Canada, a notion rejected by the international relations department.