ANC protecting Cele - Dianne Kohler Barnard

DA MP says ruling party incapable of punishing wrongdoing by its cadres

Cele's unlawful conduct: ANC reveals true colours on corruption

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes with concern the ANC's stubborn refusal to condemn maladministration and the improper use of authority by senior public figures. All political parties should be at the forefront of combating any impediment to service delivery, not least the improper behaviour of the Police Commissioner, Bheki Cele, whose abuse of power should warrant his immediate dismissal.

After an investigation into an irregular R500 million property deal for the SAPS, the Public Protector, Adv. Thuli Madonsela, said: ‘Cele's conduct was improper, unlawful and amounted to maladministration.' That is a stinging indictment on the police commissioner, an individual whose very position requires that he is above any reproach from a constitutional body tasked with ensuring public servants conduct themselves in full accord with the law.

In an official statement released today, Jackson Mthembu, the ANC's spokesperson said:

"The findings demonstrate the effectiveness of the independent organs like the Public Protector, created to strengthen our constitutional democracy."

We agree. However, Mr. Mthembu then said:

"It is, therefore, very opportunistic in the extreme for the Democratic Alliance (DA) and other opposition parties to call for the firing of national police commissioner Bheki Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde who should now be taking corrective measures to rectify any flaws in the lease agreement."

It is not opportunistic. Mr. Cele's conduct, to repeat, was found to be "improper, unlawful and amounted to maladministration". Our call for Commissioner Cele's dismissal is based on the same respect for the findings of the Public Protector that Mr. Mthembu evinced. It is based on the principles of accountability and consequences for those who have been found to have erred by independent constitutional bodies.

What the ANC has today demonstrated is that to it, the Public Protector's findings are a formality with no implications for ANC members who have had findings handed down against them. It means that the only people ANC members are accountable to are the ANC, not constitutional bodies or the South African people.

While that may be an appropriate stance for that party's own internal affairs, it is not an appropriate stance when the individual concerned is the commissioner of police. We reiterate our calls for Commissioner Cele's dismissal.

Statement issued by Dianne Kohler Barnard, MP, Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Police, February 23 2011

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