Cele slams Thuli’s ‘kangaroo’ courts

2014-02-02 14:00

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Ex-police boss likens Nkandla probe to the rough justice meted out by apartheid street committees.

Axed national police commissioner Bheki Cele has likened Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s investigation into Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home to a Durban “street committee”.

He has also accused Madonsela of ­summoning him to try to reopen her probe into Zuma, even though she had already submitted her report to Cabinet ministers.

Cele has denied that he is the one stalling the release of Madonsela’s report in a bid to curry favour with the ANC leadership.

He said the party’s membership had ­already “employed” him by placing him high up on the party’s parliamentary list for this year’s general election.

In an interview in ­Durban, Cele tore ­into Madonsela and her investigation.

Cele said he had asked that Madonsela provide him with any documentation on which she based a finding that he had failed in his capacity as police commissioner and, therefore, its chief accounting ­officer to ­prevent irregular expenditure on the ­security upgrade at Nkandla.

He said he had been surprised to be called by Madonsela’s team after the leaking of her preliminary report to the Mail & Guardian. That report was damning of Zuma.

Cele said he had received a letter from Madonsela on January 10 and set aside two days to view the report under supervision and meet her team on January 16.

He said he was even more shocked to find there had been an adverse finding against him without any witness statements, documentary evidence or discussions with him.

“One had been told that there had been no evidence against one, no documents with one’s name on them, yet there was an adverse finding against one. One was then asked to talk about what one could remember.

“This reminded me of a particular street committee in Mhlongo Road in Durban. The chief of this ­structure had a saying: ‘There are no acquittals here.’ Suspects would be told: ‘You’re guilty, now let’s hear what you have to say.’”

He said that at a meeting with Madonsela on January 21, she had agreed to ask for documentation?–?which she tried unsuccessfully to get from Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa a year ago?–?from the police.

“She agreed that it would be necessary for her ­investigation and for Cele. The PP [Public Protector] indicated that she would consult her team about subpoenaing the documents from the police minister. If she is quick and fast, this will be over quick and fast,” Cele said.

Cele denied that he was the one who had requested for the report’s release date to be delayed until after February 8.

“I don’t know which party this is, but it is definitely not us. We were given two weeks –?January 10 until January 24?–?to respond. Two weeks to respond to an investigation that had already been completed in ­August after two years. We met the deadline. In fact, we were ready by January 21. How’s that for efficient? There was no ­delaying from Cele’s side,” he said.

He also questioned why the three other commissioners who had served while the project was under way were not called.

“The project started in May 2009. I was only appointed commissioner on August 2. There were four commissioners during the project?–?Tim Williams, Cele, Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi and Riah Phiyega?–?but Cele’s name is there. I must defend myself.”

However, Cele’s career prospects are looking up. He is reported to be number nine on the ANC’s consolidated national list and KwaZulu-Natal’s most popular candidate for the provincial legislature and the national assembly.

Cele is also understood to have been placed high on the list of other provinces, including Mpumalanga, where he is a party national executive committee deployee.

He refused to be drawn on his ambitions.

“I’m unemployed now, but the membership of the ANC has employed me for after the ­elections.

“I will do whatever they expect of me. I’ll do my job no matter where I’m put. Even if I’m made a backbencher, I will do my job and do it well,” he said.

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