Cele's position untenable - Dianne Kohler Barnard

DA MP says police chief must resign, or be fired, over Public Protector's findings

Public Protector's findings: Cele should resign or be dismissed by President Zuma

The Democratic Alliance (DA) today calls on the National Police Commissioner, Bheki Cele, to resign or, if he refuses to go, to be dismissed by the President. Today, the Public Protector, Adv. Thuli Madonsela, released her report into the R500 million lease agreement that the SAPS held with Roux Shabangu for SAPS headquarters in Pretoria.

The Public Protector found the agreement to be fundamentally flawed and invalid. When news of this investigation was first reported, the DA insisted that Commissioner Cele should resign if there was an adverse finding. That has now happened and he should voluntarily leave. If he refuses to do so, the DA calls on President Zuma to dismiss him.

Adv. Madonsela said that 'Cele's conduct was improper, unlawful and amounted to maladministration.' Adv. Madonsela also stated that the Department of Public Works broke rules in this lease agreement and is guilty of maladministration. Further, Adv. Madonsela has said she will request that the National Treasury investigate this matter further and go to the National Prosecuting Authority if need be. Finally, the Public Protector has also said that urgent steps should be taken against Public Works and SAPS officials involved.

After such findings, there can be no question that Commissioner Cele's position is no longer tenable. The DA objected to his appointment, saying he was unfit for the position. Now the Public Protector says that he is not fit for office. We have already seen the indignity caused to our justice system by a police commissioner who disobeys the law. President Zuma repeatedly states his commitment to rooting out corruption and his drive to curb maladministration. If Commissioner Cele refuses to leave, then it is now for President Zuma to turn his words into action.

This is not the only deal between the SAPS and Roux Shabangu's company, Roux Property Development Africa. In January I wrote to the Public Protector requesting that she extends her investigation to also investigate the termination of a R20 million contract with Roux Shabangu in August last year for failing to complete the construction of a police station in Mpumulanga.

A further contract with Roux Shabangu in Durban was cancelled by the Department of Public Works in January; the contract was for 477 Smith Street in which the building was to be rented to the SAPS by Roux Shabangu for R6 million per month, an amount that could have bought the R42 million building outright within just over half a year.

The building is 42 000 sq meters as opposed to the current building's 12 000 - and when queried about where the personnel were to be sourced to fill such a building, it was allegedly stated that the staff would be taken from the surrounding police stations, although the DA understands that no needs analyses documentation was allegedly forthcoming, despite frequent requests.

It is not acceptable that disciplinary actions for officials involved in this lease take place behind closed doors with no outward appearance of consequences for the officials involved. The public cannot be happy with assurances that disciplinary measures were taken while the guilty officials continue in high-level government positions. We need complete transparency.

Commissioner Bheki Cele should resign from his position and Adv. Thuli Madonsela's call for further investigation and remedial action should be taken up by the relevant authorities. This is an ideal opportunity for the Zuma administration to prove its commitment to transparency, accountability and the rule of law. South Africa cannot afford another Selebi.

Statement issued by Dianne Kohler Barnard, MP, Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Police, February 22 2011

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