Cele vs Sitole: Tensions rise as national commissioner suspends deputy - report

2019-04-07 16:21
Minister of Police Bheki Cele and national police commissioner Khehla Sitole. (Morapedi Mashashe, City Press)

Minister of Police Bheki Cele and national police commissioner Khehla Sitole. (Morapedi Mashashe, City Press)

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The suspension of deputy national commissioner for human resource management, Bonang Mgwenya, has caused an even bigger rift between Police Minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole, according to City Press.

News24 reported that Mgwenya was handed her suspension letter on Thursday after she had made representations. This followed an investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) into allegations that she had used her authority to try help her son obtain a driver's licence at the Benoni testing station.

The deputy commissioner, according to the letter of intention signed by Sitole and which News24 has seen, is accused of an act of "misconduct", which "detrimentally affected the service" and or even "brought it into disrepute", as well as "abusing her authority".

"I am satisfied that there is a prima facie evidence of misconduct and the seriousness of allegations as well as the fact that your presence in the workplace (pending the finalisation of the matter) has the potential to compromise the witnesses informed the decision to suspend you with immediate effect," explains Sitole in Mgwenya's suspension letter.

This is slightly at odds with IPID's version, which said it had communicated that disciplinary action be taken against her and that a criminal case has being referred to the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) for a decision on prosecution.

Difficult relationship

City Press reports that Mgwenya's suspension raised Cele's ire. She used to be his chief of staff when he was national police commissioner in 2009 and 2011.

An insider told the newspaper that Cele favoured Mgwenya to replace Sitole, with whom he has a difficult relationship.

According to sources, to which the publication spoke, Cele is looking for a reason to remove Sitole, who he views as too closely aligned to his predecessor Fikile Mbalula. 

The national police commissioner is appointed by the president. However, Cele would be able to recommend candidates for the position. 

Cele's spokesperson, Reneilwe Serero, denied the allegations to City Press that the police minster wanted Sitole removed.

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Read more on:    police  |  khehla sitole  |  bheki cele
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