Cele’s fiery eulogy

2014-02-03 00:00

FORMER Police Commissioner Bheki Cele has called on women to expose their criminal sons and partners — but also blamed women’s “expensive taste” in gifts for violent crime.

Speaking at the state funeral of Prince Thami Zondi — who was shot during a cash-in-transit blood bath in Richmond last week — the ANC executive committee member told an audience of over 1 000 mourners that young women who demanded big-ticket items from unemployed boyfriends were unwittingly triggering crime, including the murder of Zondi himself.

He revealed that the gang which killed Zondi and security guard Izak Phungula, and wounded police officer Pepino Mpandla, “were conducting this (heist) because they wanted to buy their girlfriends expensive gifts.”

He said, “These thugs want to make their girlfriends happy at all costs. These criminals are your sons and boyfriends who are killing our police and doing various crimes, so you need to report them to the police.”

And in a second explosive assertion, Cele, sharing a stage with dignitaries including National Commissioner General Riah Phiyega, said police should “never” be wounded with their guns in their holsters — but should use those guns “the way doctors (use) their stetho­scopes”.

He told hundreds of police gathered, “Teachers are given chalk and doctors are given stethoscopes as their tools of trade. Guns are your tools of trade. If you are not allowed to use these guns then you must be given brooms to sweep.”

Meanwhile, Zondi’s father, Inkosi Nsikayenzwe Zondi, broke with royal tradition to attend the funeral in Sweetwaters, near Pietermaritzburg, saying, “Thami died a hero and nothing could stop me from attending my son’s funeral.”

In an emotional and bitter outburst, he declared, “I say to you my son, now you can kill all those criminals without having to worry about paper work now that you are in a safe place to do it.”

Zondi’s brother, Ndabezinhle, also a Richmond police officer, was with him when their police vehicle was ambushed. Their father declared, “To you Ndabe­zinhle, my son, I say you must be a fearless soldier because you now have your brother to protect you.”

Thami left a son, Minenhle, his fiancee Te Ndlovu, six sisters and many brothers.

In a sombre moment in an often raucous, seven hour service, Phiyega handed a South African flag and police cap to Thami’s mother, MaMbhele.

Phiyega said she had just learned of yet another police killing, in which two officers were gunned down in KwaDukuza hours earlier.

Cele said mothers too should expose obvious criminality within their families.

He said many unemployed sons asked their mothers “for R10 to go to town” — but when they come back home they are driving BMWs.

“From today we must start a campaign for everyone to start sending criminals to police because these criminals are known people who live our neighbourhoods,” he said.

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