Police condemn Cele reports
Johannesburg - A newspaper report that national police chief General Bheki Cele had been fired was a product of editorial incompetence and corruption, the police said on Monday.
"The SA Police Service 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 SAPS would like to remind South Africa that the public protector did not find any evidence of corrupt and illegal activity in the so-called police lease saga," Mbatha said.
The Sunday Independent reported that Cele had been axed and asked to take up a diplomatic post in Canada. 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.
Mbatha said the newspaper report on Cele's dismissal did not quote any documents or sources to validate its claims.
"The organisation [SAPS] will be writing to the proprietors of the newspaper in question to request that they institute an internal investigation into the underlying factors... that led to the story being published," she said.
"The SAPS will be asking the newspaper proprietors to release the findings of their investigation within 21 days."
Cele was quoted in the statement as saying: "For the sake of our hard-won democracy, I hope that media practitioners are awake to spot enemies of media freedom even if they are within their own ranks."