Cele’s monkey remark could lead to ‘national tragedy’, says DA

2010-12-14 13:07

The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants national police Commissioner Bheki Cele to retract the “monkey” remark he made when commenting on the Anni Dewani murder case, warning today this may have compromised the case.

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said: “I shall be writing today to the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, under whose authority the commissioner falls, requesting that he compel the commissioner to issue the apology and retraction immediately.”

At issue was Cele’s comment: “A monkey came all the way from London to have his wife murdered here.”

Kohler Barnard said Cele then issued an “embarrassing denial” that the comment was in reference to Anni’s new husband Shrien Dewani, who had been implicated in a shuttle driver’s plea bargain for allegedly arranging her death in a faked hijacking.

“We should not understate the significance of these comments: it would be a national tragedy if a trial was prevented because of the commissioner’s foolhardiness.”

The DA also wanted the Public Protector to look into the matter.

She felt they carried racial undertones and could adversely affect South Africa’s request that Dewani be extradited from the UK to stand trial.

Cele’s predecessor Jackie Selebi also faced a furore over a primate comment when he called a police officer a chimpanzee.

He was let off after an investigation’s conclusion that chimpanzees are intelligent.

Anni Dewani was shot dead in Khayelitsha on November 13 after a reported spur of the moment decision to visit Gugulethu, outside Cape Town, during the couple’s honeymoon in November.

Her husband was reportedly ejected from the car along with the driver Zola Tongo.

Tongo was sentenced to 18 years for his part in her death after the Cape High Court accepted his plea bargain.

Two other people – Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mmgeni are currently awaiting their next court appearance.

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