Inquiry hears of Cele-Shabangu meeting

2012-03-06 10:58

Questions about a meeting between suspended national police commissioner General Bheki Cele and property businessman Roux Shabangu were raised during the inquiry into Cele’s conduct.

The second day of the inquiry in Pretoria today saw former SA Police Service head of procurement and deputy national commissioner, lieutenant general Hamilton Hlela, reiterating that Cele had identified a building in Pretoria which he wanted to lease for use as police headquarters.

Hlela, who retired from the police service in August 2010, also confirmed a meeting with Sanlam Middestad building owner Shabangu, which he claimed Cele chaired on July 5 2010.

Asked by Cele’s legal representative, advocate Vincent Maleka (SC), to confirm this was a “first meeting” between Cele and Shabangu, Hlela suggested they could have met previously, but he did not know.

“I don’t know if it was the first time they met, but yes it was the first time they met in my presence,” he said.

Maleka asked if a meeting between a tenant and property owner was “out of the ordinary”, to which Hlela replied: “No”.

Hlela said a needs assessment of 2 000 square metres required by the police was changed at that meeting to 25 000 square metres, “in order to fit space available”.

Maleka said Cele would dispute Hlela’s version that Cele refused to give him the landlord’s contact details, saying: “the person will contact me or would come visit me”.

Yesterday, Hlela said he was not given that person’s name. Shabangu was the only person that called him after that conversation.

Maleka reacted: “I don’t accept that someone called you. That’s your version. We will dispute that.”

President Jacob Zuma suspended Cele after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report concluded his conduct pertaining to two leases for new police headquarters in Pretoria and Durban, valued at R1.6 billion, was “improper and unlawful”.

These findings formed part of the evidence at the inquiry, which was triggered by the report.

Another four people were expected to give testimony during the week. Cele was also expected to testify.

The previous national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi, was sentenced for 15 years by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg in 2010 for corruption following a trial which began in 2008.

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