Bheki Cele is a liar - angry councillor ejected from Total Shutdown meeting

2018-09-26 19:12
Police minister Bheki Cele. (Gallo)

Police minister Bheki Cele. (Gallo)

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Cape Town councillor Angus McKenzie had strong words for Police Minister Bheki Cele after he and Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith were booted from a community meeting in Bonteheuwel on Thursday.

The meeting was intended for Total Shutdown protesters to discuss a way forward after several Western Cape communities took to the streets to protest against gangsterism and poverty on Wednesday.

"Not only is Bheki Cele a liar, but he also does not care about Bonteheuwel and the Cape Flats," McKenzie said in a statement on Wednesday.

He said Cele had invited all stakeholders to the community meeting in Bonteheuwel on Wednesday afternoon.

"Once the proceedings commenced, he turned around and said that City officials, including myself and JP Smith, should leave as he never invited us despite [sending] an email inviting us."

WATCH: Total Shutdown protesters cheer as JP Smith, councillor kicked out of Cele meeting

McKenzie, a DA councillor, said that the ANC-led government was using gangsterism as a political tool for the upcoming national elections.

"But most interestingly, the actions of Bheki Cele today is a clear indication why he has ignored three open letters I sent to him regarding the policing situation in Bonteheuwel," he said.

Cele acknowledged the role that the local government played in resolving the problems in the Western Cape but said he could not allow the presence of McKenzie and Smith to collapse the meeting.

jp smith
The invitation that was allegedly sent to JP Smith. (Supplied)

Total Shutdown leader Henrietta Abrahams, one of the eight people arrested during the protest, said Smith and McKenzie were trying to use the community's hardship to score political points.

She claimed Smith had fought the movement "every step of the way".

Smith issued a statement later saying Abrahams had appointed herself as a community representative, in the face of organised structures such as the Community Policing Forum initiatives. 

He said he had high hopes for Cele when he took office, but felt politics was still dogging policing.

Smith said national government had stripped 4502 police posts from the province in the past four years.

He claimed Cape Town had 560 people for every one police officer while the rest of South Africa had 369 people for every officer. 

"...They have left this City starved of police resources and the blood of its people is on their hands," he said.

"We have true empathy for the communities affected by crime and will continue to work with those seeking real and constructive solutions and engagement," he added.

On Wednesday, News24 reported that Smith bemoaned the fact that the organisers had failed to obtain permission for the protest.

"The organisers did not make any application in terms of national legislation (the Regulation of Gatherings Act (RGA). The 'illegality' is moot due to a Constitutional Court ruling around [the] RGA," he said.

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