Cele’s actions were ‘improper, unlawful’

2011-02-22 14:32

In the strongest public rebuke yet of a senior civil servant in the Jacob Zuma administration, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela this afternoon called General Bheki’s Cele’s role in procuring new police headquarters in Pretoria “improper and unlawful”.

In a hard-hitting address to the Pretoria Press Club, Madonsela slammed the actions of Cele, his senior officials and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde in approving the R500-million leasing agreement between the state and businessman Roux Shabangu’s property firm.

Madonsela has asked Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to take “urgent steps to ensure that the appropriate action is instituted against the National Commissioner (Cele) and other officials of the SAPS that acted in contravention of the law, policy and other prescripts in respect of the procurement processes referred to in this report”.

She has also instructed the Cabinet to interrogate Mahlangu-Nkabinde on her decision to revalidate the contract after it was cancelled by her predecessor, Geoff Doidge.

Quoting former president Nelson Mandela and Zuma on the importance of democratic institutions in her speech, Madonsela didn’t mince her words and made it clear she was not impressed with the way the Middestad building contract was handled. Her report into the matter is titled: “Against the Rules”.

Madonsela, who doesn’t have the powers of a law enforcement agency, said she and her colleagues did not find evidence of illegal behaviour during her probe, but emphasised the matter has not been finalised.

Madonsela is still completing her report into a second leasing agreement between public works and Shabangu, for a police building in Durban.She has also referred her report to the National Treasury to determine if any criminal action should be instituted.

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