DA asks PP to clip Bheki Cele’s wings following his SAPS helicopter joyride - Andrew Whitfield

MP says police minister continues to burn through taxpayer Rands for his personal benefit

DA asks Public Protector to clip Bheki Cele’s wings following his SAPS helicopter joyride

26 February 2024

Today, the Democratic Alliance submitted a complaint with the Office of the Public Protector against Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, for his flagrant disregard of taxpayer funds, when he used an official SAPS helicopter to transport him to the ANC’s manifesto launch at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in KZN this weekend.

Cele continues to burn through taxpayer Rands for his personal benefit, something that is in direct contravention of the Executive Members' Ethics Code (“Ethics Code”). This is the second time in quick succession that Cele has abused taxpayer funds. Just last year, hundreds of thousands of Rands were spent on his personal assistant to travel with him to the Rugby World Cup Final in France– despite it being a privately funded trip. The Public Protector is already investigating this matter as well.

Minister Cele’s flagrant disregard of the Ethics Code and abuses of power are indicative of the state that we find our policing in. With forever increasing crime rates, SAPS members around the country are pleading for more resources to combat crime – yet here we have a Minister using vital state resources as his own personal taxi.

Cele not only acted in a manner that is unbecoming of a Minister, but used his position to unduly benefit himself and abuse resources – clear violations in terms of the Ethics Code. As such, the DA has requested the Public Protector’s Office to investigate and make a ruling as follows:

1. That the use of the SAPS helicopter was for private/party use and not in accordance with executing his functions as Minister

2. That Bheki Cele be ordered to pay back to SAPS all amounts that were incurred as a result of the personal use of the helicopter, including fuel, rental time, airport taxes and any other amounts incurred as a result.

A Minister of Police has only executive oversight powers and is not responsible for any “on the ground operation”, despite what Cele said in various interviews. It is clear that he was at the stadium in his capacity as an ANC member, and any use of state resources is strictly prohibited.

Bheki Cele’s tyrannical rule over SAPS must come to and end. With President Ramaphosa protecting Cele at every turn in order to prevent any further exodus of ANC voters, especially in KZN, the only way to remove Cele would be to remove the ANC from power all together. Its time that a DA government steps in and re-energises a completely decimated SAPS.


Cele must be billed for abusing SAPS helicopter

24 February 2024

Police Minister, Bheki Cele, should be billed in his personal capacity for chartering a South African Police Service (SAPS) helicopter to the ANC’s manifesto launch at Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban. Cele’s helicopter stunt was a gross abuse of state resources and he should be made to pay for every flight minute that the helicopter was in the air.

In addition, the DA is calling for a full SAPS internal investigation to review the decision making process that authorized the use of the helicopter by Cele. All the SAPS officers – across the chain of command, who signed off on this irregular use of a police asset, should be subjected to a disciplinary process.

In typical Cele fashion, the disgraced Police Minister has once again shown his disdain for the South African public by using state resources for an ANC party event. State resources, inclusive of SAPS assets, should never be used for party political events. By commandeering a helicopter from the SAPS Air wing Unit, Cele displayed an arrogant sense of entitlement that has become the hallmark of ANC politicians across the government system. He would rather divert SAPS’s crime fighting resources for his personal use than protect South Africans who are being terrorized by a crime wave that has become a national crisis.

It is clear that the ANC and its deployees in Government are so used to the high life of living without loadshedding, protected day and night by VIP protection, transported by blue light brigades and totally out of touch with the daily struggle of South Africans, that they have long since forgotten the line between State and Party.

Across the length and breath of our country, murders, rapists, hijackers, and robbers continue to terrorize South Africans who are told that the SAPS do not have the resources to combat these crimes. Yet the man who should be fired for the disastrous state of the Police Service, uses these limited resources as an Uber to get to the stadium in time for the ANC Manifesto launch.

The DA will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that Cele is held personally liable for the flight costs incurred through todays helicopter flight. For far too long taxpayers have been taken for a ride and this time, the DA will ensure that they get every cent of their money back.

Statements issued by Andrew Whitfield MP - DA Shadow Minister of Police, 24 and 26 February 2024