Public Protector report a vindication - Cele

Police chief says he is contemplating legal action over incorrect press claims

The National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele feels vindicated by the findings of the Public Protector's investigation into the Middestad Sanlam Centre lease saga, insofar as it clears him of the defamatory allegations published in various media platforms since the 1st of August 2010. The allegations were that he signed a lease agreement for this building.

The Public Protector not only stops at finding that General Cele did not sign the lease for Middestad Sanlam Centre, she goes further and vindicates General Cele's widely-disregarded protestations that businessman Roux Shabangu, the owner of Middestad Sanlam Centre, was a stranger to him up until their meeting in June 2010 when Middestad Centre Sanlam had already been selected by the Department of Public Works as the building that the SAPS were going to move into.

General Cele will now be consulting his lawyers to explore what avenues are available to him as he seeks redress over these allegations that have caused him and his family so much pain and suffering over the past five months, or so.

General Cele will now wait for the SAPS to complete its review of the Public Protector's report insofar as its affects the organisation.

That said, General Cele does find it odd that the Public Protector finds him responsible for failing to ensure that the procurement of the Middestad Sanlam Centre lease did not violate the PFMA or the constitution of the country given that she acknowledges elsewhere in her report that this is not his responsibility but that of the Department of Public Works.

Furthermore, the Public Protector's report contains a reference to a memo that General Cele signed on 10 May 2010 specifically recording that the Department of Public Works was going to follow a six weeks tender process as part of its search for the space that the SAPS required.

Exactly how General Cele or the SAPS ends up being found guilty for the Department of Public Works failure to do this is a mystery that will hopefully be cleared over the next few days.

Statement issued by SAPS Corporate Communications, February 22 2011

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