Newspaper stands by Cele axing story
Johannesburg - The Sunday Independent newspaper stood by its report that national police chief General Bheki Cele had been fired, editor Makhudu Sefara said on Monday.
"I don't know what people know about news stories, but from where we sit, the information has been sourced properly... it has been corroborated by more than two sources," he said.
The newspaper reported on Sunday that Cele had been axed and asked to take up a diplomatic post in Canada, and that he was expected to vacate his office by November 30.
The dismissal was reportedly the result of a report, by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, which implicated him in controversial lease deals for buildings in Durban and Pretoria.
Madonsela found Cele had been involved in improper conduct and maladministration.
Police rejected the report on Monday, and said it was the product of incompetence and corruption.
"The SA Police Service (SAPS) would like to assure the South African public that General Cele is very much entrenched in his position as national commissioner," Cele's spokesperson Major General Nonkululeko Mbatha said.
"No amount of dirty tricks... will ever destabilise the organisation."
She said a disinformation campaign against Cele was being run by the "criminal underworld" with assistance from "their friends in the media".
The newspaper report did not quote any documents or sources to validate its claims, she said.
A letter was being sent to the newspaper requesting an internal investigation
"The SAPS will be asking the newspaper proprietors to release the findings of their investigation within 21 days," Mbatha said.
Sefara said the newspaper would consider the request.
"A basis for the investigation has not been established. If they [police] wish to request an investigation, we will listen and make a decision if we think there is sufficient basis for it," the editor said.