Court sets aside 2012 decision to fire Bheki Cele as police commissioner

2019-04-09 15:34
Bheki Cele, who is now the minister of police, was the national police commissioner until his sacking in 2012. (File, Netwerk24)

Bheki Cele, who is now the minister of police, was the national police commissioner until his sacking in 2012. (File, Netwerk24)

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The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria set aside a 2012 decision to fire then national police commissioner Bheki Cele, who is now the minister of police. 

Cele felt "vindicated" by the judgment, his spokesperson Reneilwe Serero said, following the court's decision on Tuesday. 

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

The High Court also ordered that: "without re-instating the applicant (Cele) into his position as the national commissioner, the decision by the (president) contained in the letter dated June 2012... discharging the applicant as the national commissioner of police, be and is declared to be invalid and of no force and effect."  

In 2012, former president Jacob Zuma announced that he had decided to release Cele from his duties after considering the report of a board of inquiry into Cele's actions relating to lease deals.

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 signed with business tycoon Roux Shabangu - one for a building in Pretoria, another for a building in Durban.

FROM OUR ARCHIVES: Bheki Cele fired

In July 2012, Cele lodged a court application to contest the findings of the report - used to fire him as national police commissioner - written by a board of inquiry led by Judge Jake Moloi.

The board found that Cele had acted dishonestly and with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation to two police lease deals he signed.

"General Cele has over the years always maintained that the board's specific findings, conclusions and recommendations, holding that he was, in relation to the procurement of building leases for the housing of the South African Police Services was 'dishonest', 'in conflict of interest' and 'in breach of Section 38 of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999', were irrational, biased, lacked credence and defied logic," 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." 

Serero said that, even during the board's inquiry, there was "undisputed evidence" regarding Cele's "unblemished and sterling track record in the police and capabilities…."

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. 

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