Cele latest high-profile lease saga victim

2012-06-12 22:55
President Jacob has fired Bheki Cele as national police chief. (File, Sapa)

President Jacob has fired Bheki Cele as national police chief. (File, Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Bheki Cele on Thursday became the third high-profile casualty of the police lease saga when he was fired by President Jacob Zuma.

Cele was sacked eight months after he was suspended by Zuma after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela laid the blame for the controversial police office lease deals at his door.

He rejected Madonsela's findings in two separate investigative reports, according to which he had identified the buildings to be leased as police headquarters in Durban and Pretoria, a City Press report said.

Both Madonsela and the board of inquiry into Cele's fitness to hold office could not find any evidence that Cele was corrupt or that he had had a corrupt relationship with businessman Roux Shabangu whose company, Roux Property Africa, was awarded the R1.68bn lease deals by the department of public works.

But Madonsela had found that Cele's involvement in the deals was "improper, unlawful, and amounted to maladministration".

Cele becomes the third top government official to be fired in connection with the lease debacle after Zuma fired former public works minister Geoff Doidge in 2010.

Zuma fired Doidge's replacement, Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, a year later, replacing her with incumbent Thulas Nxesi in October.

Çity Press reported that a total of seven senior public works officials, including director general Siviwe Dongwana, are still on suspension in relation to the leases.

Mahlangu-Nkabinde instituted legal action against Shabangu to get the high court to nullify the lease before she was fired.

In court papers she blames Cele's department. The case is pending.


Cele will be replaced Mangwashi Phiyega, the country's first woman police chief, who is a relative outsider to police circles.

She is currently the chair of the presidential review committee on state owned enterprises, and deputy chair of the independent commission on the remuneration of office bearers.

Phiyega has considerable management experience, she has been a trustee of Nelson Mandela's foundation and an executive at Barclays-owned banking group Absa.

"Ms Phiyega brings a wealth of experience as a senior executive, who understands the responsibility of government in the fight against crime, and the duties imposed in dealing with state assets," Zuma said.

"I have every confidence that she will show leadership and acquit herself well as national commissioner. We wish her all the best in her new assignment."

The appointment has, however, been questioned by opposition parties.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said Zuma's announcements (including a cabinet reshuffle) "reveals a president desperate to shore up support ahead of the ANC’s Mangaung elective conference.

"President Zuma has once again appointed a national police commissioner with no policing experience."

She said the party had hoped Zuma would have acted to restore public confidence in the SA Police Service by appointing someone with a demonstrated ability in crime fighting and police management.


The African Christian Democratic Party welcomed Zuma's decision to release Cele from his duties.

"While commissioner Cele did an excellent job in leading the police in the fight against crime, which led to a decline in violent crimes, he was found wanting in matters of administration," party leader Rev Kenneth Meshoe said.

"The ACDP had hoped that his replacement would be a professional career policeman, who had experience in matters of policing, such as divisional commissioner [Nhlanhla] Mkhwanazi, who we believe did an excellent job."

The Congress of the People said Cele's dismissal was long-awaited, but the party was surprised by the new appointment, saying Phiyega lacked experience.

President Zuma has been criticiced for appointing politicians for the position before, said Johan Burger, an expert on policing and a former high ranking officer who is a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, told AP.

According to Burger, appointing politicians who are seen as knowing little about running a force leads to distrust and disrespect among police officers.
- News24
Read more on:    cope  |  police  |  public works  |  da  |  acdp  |  helen zille  |  roux shabangu  |  kenneth meshoe  |  riah phiyega  |  jacob zuma  |  gwen mahlangu-nkabinde  |  bheki cele  |  geoff doidge  |  thuli madonsela  |  police lease saga  |  politics

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!

Nothing, and we mean nothing, will keep goalkeeper Scott Stirling from stopping the ball!



Hottie of the day: Nicole Meyer!
11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!
This is how the Top Gear presenters spend their £55 million!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


The Moon has moved into your sign, emphasizing the need to connect things to work together. There is a tendency to focus too far...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.