Consider Cabinet view on Cele, inquiry told

2012-04-03 14:22

Pretoria – The Cabinet's view on embattled police chief Bheki Cele's conduct should be taken into account, the board of inquiry into his fitness to hold office heard on Tuesday.

Submitting closing arguments in the Tshwane council chambers, advocate Vincent Maleka, for Cele, said it was significant that the "national Cabinet had not passed a vote of no confidence against General Cele".

"We urge you to take that into account because it is relevant to the overall conduct of the commissioner.

"We would have thought that the overall conduct of the national commissioner would become more negative to him if Cabinet had expressed a negative view. Cabinet has instead expressed a positive view," said Maleka.

Inappropriate recommendation

He said the recommendation put forward on Monday by the evidence-leading team, advocating for the dismissal of Cele, was inappropriate.

"It's not based on evidence; we ask you to make a different recommendation. The national commissioner has discharged his duties as outlined in the Constitution and the SAPS Act," said Maleka.

He urged the board to follow in the footsteps of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who had not found evidence of an improper relationship between Cele and businessman Roux Shabangu.

"Assuming that our learned friends [the evidence-leading team] manage to convince you that General Cele breached supply chain management processes, are you going to recommend that a DG [director general] who has discharged his duties should be removed from office simply because he failed to comply with provisions relating to the procurement of a building by the DPW [department of public works]?" asked Maleka.

"We would submit that even if you find that General Cele did breach supply chain management processes, such a recommendation [for his dismissal] is far reaching."

No evidence of collusion

Relating the highly contentious alteration of office space at a meeting with Shabangu, Maleka argued that there was no evidence to prove collusion with the property owner.

"There was an approval of the negotiation process by DPW already. In the process of working out the details, specifics around space requirement would change.

"If a gym was a necessary part required by police at the building, there was nothing wrong there," said Maleka.

Earlier, Maleka submitted that former deputy police chief and head of procurement Hamilton Hlela had altered the procurement process.

He said it was Hlela who had motivated for the negotiated procurement process.

"He had no instruction to change the rules. We have referred the board to General Hlela's meeting with the acting director general of the public works department," said Maleka.

"In that meeting, he motivated for a shortened procurement process, which is the negotiated process. He did not discuss that with General Cele."

Obligation to prevent

Maleka said his submission was critical as it touched on one of the board of inquiry's terms of reference - to establish whether Cele failed to prevent his subordinates' non-compliance with SA Police Service regulations.

"You can only fail to prevent something that you know. If you don't know anything there is hardly an obligation to prevent," said Maleka.

He said there was no evidence to support allegations that Cele had mismanaged funds as the accounting officer of the department.

"We hereby submit that the funds of SAPS were properly managed under the stewardship of General Cele, and we avoid any unwarranted statements not based on evidence," said Maleka.

On Monday, Maleka contested Hlela's evidence alleging that Cele had identified a building in Pretoria owned by Shabangu.

Maleka said the evidence-leading team had failed to provide evidence to support its claim that Cele had breached the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

Conflict of interest

He said evidence leader Mbuyiseli Madlanga had not told the inquiry which provisions of the PFMA Cele had contravened.

He countered earlier claims by the evidence-leading team that Cele acted with a conflict of interest because he had a relationship with Shabangu.

Madlanga had said that apart from misconduct, the "gross breach of the Public Finance Management Act alone warranted the board to recommend Cele's removal from office".

The board of inquiry, appointed by President Jacob Zuma and chaired by Judge Jake Moloi, is mandated to establish whether Cele acted corruptly, dishonestly, or with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation to two police lease deals signed with Shabangu, one for a building in Pretoria, another for a building in Durban.

It also has to determine his fitness to hold office, and his capacity to efficiently execute his duties.

  • John - 2012-04-03 14:31

    Of course the ANC cabinet is not going to critisise Cele. They cannot admit that they appoint bozos into positions as they are bozos themselves.

  • Bambanani - 2012-04-03 14:34

    cele not guilty

      Toohotdurban - 2012-04-03 15:15

      bambanani, uzokhu boshwa mfetu.

  • Sylvia - 2012-04-03 14:34

    They've always got one another's backs covered. This is the whole problem and why corruption is so rife.

  • Shirley - 2012-04-03 14:46

    How can cabinet point fingers at this ganster-they are all "dipping" in the preverbeal "kitty". That would realy be the pot calling the kettle black!

  • Michele - 2012-04-03 14:48

    OFC they should consider the view of the upstanding and corrupt-free cabinet right? They are not ANC members are they? Surely they aren't hellbent on looting our wonderful country until there is nothing left? Oh wait....

  • Frank - 2012-04-03 14:59

    Just too many black pots and kettles for this ever to be above board.

  • Etienne - 2012-04-03 15:01

    I feel that there should be no embarrassing blemishes on the Police Commisioner status.He has been compromised and he should resighn and take his package .

      Toohotdurban - 2012-04-03 15:17

      he been around for what 2 odd years, what package he deserves...crap...he probably "made" millions in the short while he was there...actually if he is found imcompetant to hold office, then he should pay up...

  • Nosiphom - 2012-04-03 15:13

    The fact is Mr Vincent Maleka, the cabinet was, like Bheki Cele appointed by Zuma; therefore they cannot even dare make their feelings known unless they are tired of being in cabinet. Zuma is still the one to make a final ruling on Cele - he never wanted the investigation anyway. So who at Cabinet should express anything negative?

  • Susan - 2012-04-03 17:03

    I wonder where does this mysterious illness come from, whenever Government official are found guilty. I guess i would also feel if i was going to jail for fraud.

  • Wesley - 2012-04-03 19:16

    Just the way he dress make him incompetent for the job. Clown

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