‘Let’s not talk about lease yet’: Cele

2011-09-16 13:43

Police Commissioner Bheki Cele today declined to be drawn on the controversial police office lease deals probed by the Public Protector.

However, he told editors in Cape Town that steps had been taken within the police to address weaknesses that had caused what he called “these administrative bungles”.

“Until the finalisation of the processes that are currently underway elsewhere to determine if I am indeed guilty of (what) I have been accused of, those allegations will always loom large like the proverbial elephant in the room,” Cele said.

“I trust that you will respect my wishes not to be drawn into a discussion about these allegations at this point in time.”

Cele did recap on previous comments he had made on the issue, “most of which have already been corroborated by the finding of the recently concluded Public Protector investigation”.

These included that the police genuinely needed new offices in Pretoria and Durban. Delays in getting these offices had severely compromised the police’s ability to deliver an effective service to the public.

The commissioner said in his position he was ultimately responsible for all the administrative bungles committed by Saps offices in managing the processes of procuring new office leases in Pretoria and Durban.

“As inexcusable as these bungles may be they should be viewed within the context of the regrettable reality that over the years they had come to be erroneously accepted as correct operating procedure within the organisation,” Cele said.

“Steps have already been taken to address the many institutional weaknesses that gave rise to these administrative bungles.”

He also reiterated his stand that he had not signed any lease agreement for offices either with Roux Shabangu’s property company or any other company.

“I had no prior contact with Mr Shabangu prior to him being appointed by the Department of Public Works as the Saps landlord in Pretoria (and) I do not have a relationship, proper or improper, with Mr Shabangu,” he said.

Cele said he was not aware of any corrupt or unlawful conduct on the part of any individual who was involved in the stalled processes to procure new office leases for the police in Pretoria and Durban. 

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