Businessman Roux Shabangu welcomes Bheki Cele judgment

2019-04-10 16:16
Minister Bheki Cele. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Minister Bheki Cele. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Business tycoon Roux Shabangu has welcomed the ruling of the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, which set aside a 2012 decision to fire then national police commissioner Bheki Cele, currently the minister of police.

In 2012, former president Jacob Zuma announced that he was releasing Cele from his duties after considering the report of a board of inquiry into Cele's actions in relation to two police lease deals he had signed with Shabangu.

The board of inquiry sought to establish whether Cele had acted corruptly, dishonestly, or with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation to two police lease deals - one for a building in Pretoria, another for a building in Durban.

In July 2012, after his dismissal, Cele lodged a court application to contest the findings of the report, which served as the basis for his dismissal. The report was written by a board of inquiry led by Judge Jake Moloi. 

"We welcome Mr Cele's court case finding by the Gauteng High Court and we wish to convey our congratulatory message to him and his legal team," Shabangu said on Wednesday. 

READ: Shabangu's building under the hammer

"His seven-year long court process in clearing his name has finally come to an end and in light of the court's finding, we remain positive and trusting in our judicial system in clearing and rectifying the damages caused as a result of the prejudice that we all suffered.

"We rely on the finding of this case in pursuit of justice and vindication. The lease debacle has been a long and draining experience that left a bitter taste and caused a lot of harm to one's reputation," Shabangu said.

Shabangu said he and Cele have maintained their "integrity".

"It is therefore our mission to rebuild what has been lost due to this unfortunate matter and ensure a value creation that will enable us in continuing with building and contributing to our community's well-being."

On Tuesday, Cele's spokesperson said the minister felt "vindicated" by the judgment. 

FROM OUR ARCHIVES: Bheki Cele fired

"General Cele has over the years always maintained that the board's specific findings were irrational, biased, lacked credence and defied logic," his spokesperson Reneilwe Serero said.

"The decision to discharge and release him of his duties as the national commissioner of police was also invalid and of no force and effect on the same reasons he advanced against the board findings and recommendations."

Meanwhile, Cele said the fight against crime continued and that he remained committed to working with the police to combat, prevent and investigate crime.

"Equally, I also convey words of appreciation and support to ordinary South Africans and the legal team who have been pillars of strength during the seven-year court debacle to clear my name," he said. 

The President was ordered to pay costs of the application, including costs of three counsels. 

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