Mdluli and I - Bheki Cele

Commissioner says he had a good working relationship with crime-intelligence chief

Police Rubbish Rumour of Cele Investigation

The South African Police Service has learnt that the media intends to publish a patently false allegation that the National Commissioner, General Bheki Cele, is the subject of either an ongoing or a concluded corruption investigation by Lt-General Richard Mdluli, the Crime Intelligence head who was arrested last week.

The SAPS would like to place it on record that General Cele is not, and has never been, the subject of any criminal investigation by the police or any state organ for that matter. More specifically, the SAPS would like to record the fact that the conduct of investigations falls outside the mandate of the Crime Intelligence division that Lt-General Mdluli headed at the time of his arrest.

The work of Crime Intelligence is to gather and relay pertinent information to investigators within the Detectives Services and the Hawks, either in support of on-going investigations or to trigger new investigations. For the record, the SAPS has no record or knowledge of any file that the Crime Intelligence division has ever opened or is about to open on General Cele.

At this point, the SAPS would also like to record the fact that at around 19h00 yesterday, 06 April 2011, General Cele was handed a copy of a recently declassified letter marked "TOP SECRET" that Lt-General Mdluli purportedly sent to him and several others on 11 November 2010 pleading for the investigation that saw him being arrested last week to be stopped on the basis that it amounted to nothing but victimisation and abuse of state resources.

The SAPS understands that copies of this letter were handed to a number of journalists earlier on this week.

The SAPS wishes to record that, General Cele was seeing this letter and its contents for only the first time yesterday evening and that there is no record of it being received by his office at any earlier date.

The SAPS is not in a position to comment broadly on the contents of this letter save to record that at no stage was Lt-General Mdluli ever cleared of the allegations that saw him being arrested last week by an internal SAPS investigation as alleged in this letter.

The investigation that was conducted by Major-General B M Ntlemeza, whose report is dated 14 January 2010, reference number 26/102/2, and is attached to this letter, only pertained to allegations of attempts by certain members of Gauteng Crime Intelligence to frustrate Lt-General Mdluli's candidature for the post of Divisional Commissioner: Crime Intelligence sometime in 2009.

Turning to the subject of the Lt-General Mdluli's arrest, the SAPS wishes to take this opportunity to correct a few misperceptions that recent media reports have created about the relationship between General Cele and Lt-General Mdluli.

There was never any tension between General Cele and Lt-General Mdluli in the aftermath of the now infamous unannounced visit by members of Crime Intelligence to the Public Protector's office.

General Cele and Lt-General Mdluli were both not aware of this visit until news of it reached them at a meeting of police management that they were both attending. General Cele could never blame Lt-General Mdluli for this debacle without having to accept such blame himself.

The truth of the matter is that General Cele enjoyed a good working relationship with Lt-General Mdluli. The sadness which accompanied his acceptance of his investigators' representations that Lt-General Mdluli has a case to answer is only dwarfed by the deep pain he feels for the families of the victims of his alleged crimes.

General Cele would like to assure the South African public that the top management of the SAPS is dedicated and robust enough to ensure that the organisation's capacity to fight crime can and will never be crippled by any action taken against any individual officer, however senior they may be.

Statement issued by Major General Nonkululeko Mbatha, SAPS national media centre, April 7 2011

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