New Police Minister Cele rushes to Ngcobo to 'join the force'

Johannesburg – Newly-appointed Police Minister Bheki Cele is already raring to go.

He is expected to join the country's police force this morning as it pays its respects to its fallen soldiers.

Cele was announced as the new police minister by President Cyril Ramaphosa late on Monday evening. He replaces Fikile Mbalula, who has since been deployed by the ANC to its Luthuli House headquarters to serve full time as elections subcommittee chairperson.

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"I can't talk right now, I have to rush to eNgcobo," Cele said on Tuesday morning.

"It is important to go join the force there," he added.

Five police officers were tragically gunned down while on duty last week. They were to be remembered by their SAPS colleagues in the small Eastern Cape village on Tuesday.

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'Shoot to kill'

Mbalula, who was known for constantly tweeting about his work in the ministry, has already wished Cele well, tweeting: "Good regards to Bheki Cele I know he will do a good job. Bopha Ndosi," on Monday evening.

The former police commissioner's appointment has been widely welcomed, with South Africans on social media reminiscing about his tenure in that office. This is due to his "fight-fire-with-fire" approach to dealing with criminals.

Cele once told members of the SAPS to "shoot to kill" when dealing with criminals, however, his stint there was cut short when former president Jacob Zuma fired him in 2012.

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A board of inquiry, chaired by Judge Jake Moloi, found Cele to have put himself in a conflicting position by flouting his own department's rules in the issuing of tenders.

The inquiry was instituted against him after then-public protector Thuli Madonsela found him guilty of being implicated in the leasing of buildings in Durban and Pretoria.

Prior to the late-night announcement by Ramaphosa on Monday night, Cele served as deputy minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

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