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South Africa: Police chief Bheki Cele fired by President Jacob Zuma


Global Post

By Eric Conway-Smith

June 12, 2012

Bheki Cele, suspended over allegations of dodgy property deals, has been replaced by Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega, South Africa’s first female police commissioner.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Bheki Cele has been fired as top police chief, South African President Jacob Zuma announced today.

Cele, suspended last year after allegations of unlawful property deals, has been replaced by Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega. She is South Africa’s first female national police commissioner.

Cele’s dismissal comes amid growing frustration in South Africa over corrupt and incompetent police, from traffic cops soliciting a bribe to the controversial appointments of some of the country’s highest-ranking police officials.

A board of inquiry last month found that Cele was not fit to hold office, and recommended he be dismissed.

“I have decided to release General Cele from his duties,” Zuma told reporters in Pretoria.

Allegations about Cele’s property deals were first reported in South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper, on August 1, 2010.

A corruption investigator ruled last year that Cele and a government minister were involved in property deals that were “improper, unlawful, and amounted to maladministration.”

Public protector Thuli Madonsela investigated leases for buildings that were to have served as police headquarters in Pretoria and Durban, and found that the buildings were leased from a well-connected company at inflated prices.

She slammed Cele for his involvement in the deals, and called for disciplinary action against him by President Zuma.

In the Durban deal, police had offered $169 million to a politically connected property tycoon for a 10-year lease that was worth less than one third of that amount.

Cele’s predecessor, Jackie Selebi, is serving a 15-year jail sentence for corruption after being convicted of taking $156,000 in bribes from drug dealer Glenn Agliotti.

South Africa: ‘No more cash-cow contracts for clueless comrades’


Mail&Guardian Online

September 22, 2011

The days of the department of public works being run like a “cash cow” are over, minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde said in Sandton on Thursday. 

Contracts are given to people who don’t even have a clue what they are supposed to do,” she told delegates at the Engineering Council of South Africa’s summit.

There were roads and bridges falling apart around the country, and of the 41 departmental contracts reviewed by the Special Investigating Unit, all were found to be non-compliant.

It’s a shame. I am paying for buildings that are falling apart. Many are not being used, or maintained. They are just empty.”

Mahlangu-Nkabinde took office on October 31 last year, succeeding Jeff Doidge.

She said: “When I got into public works, I discovered it was just a cash cow.”

In two separate reports this year, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela held her and national police commissioner Bheki Cele responsible for a R500-million and R1.1-billion lease agreement with businessman Roux Shabangu for police office space in Pretoria and Durban.

She found the leases were concluded in an unlawful and improper way. Madonsela criticised the department for going ahead with the deals, in spite of legal opinion to the contrary and an earlier agreement that this would not happen until the public protector had completed her investigation.

Without referring to the lease controversy, Mahlangu-Nkabinde said: “We have created a lot of millionaires who do not care what happens to this country.

“I am interfering in areas where previous people were comfortable, but I am not in it for myself, I am in it for the country and for the years to come.

I want to remain an unpopular minister, because I will not give a ‘comrade’, who has no clue what he is doing, government projects.”

In the past weeks, her department announced it had already found R3-billion worth of tender irregularities in response to recommendations made by the protector…Read more.

$38bn/y needed for African infrastructure to create growth platform


Star High Way Sign
Image via Wikipedia
August 4th, 2011

Political leaders attending the 13th African Renaissance Conference in Durban on Thursday argued that increased infrastructural connectivity between African countries should be prioritised, as it would create an important platform for social, political and economic development on the continent.

At present, only about 10% of African trade was intracontinental, while the balance was with countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

South Africa’s Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba argued that yearly infrastructure investment of $38-billion would be required over the next ten years to deal with the current deficits and to create the basis for greater trade and investment within the continent and with trade partners.

The bulk of the flows would be required to bolster energy capacity, but large logistics-related investment was also key to unblocking the current constraints to intraregional trade and to stimulating new agricultural, mining and manufacturing activities.

As a result of the lack of transport infrastructure, Africa has become a target in the global scramble for resources, but social and political integration must be lead by Africans themselves as those who are still keen on plundering the continent don’t have the will to help us solve our problems,” he said.

“However, without infrastructure, economic activity will be stifled.”

He pointed out that China had identified Africa as a target for increased investment, which had risen dramatically over the past decade. “But we must not be romantic because Chinese involvement in Africa is for its own benefit,” he said, arguing that South Africa needed to develop a strategy for engaging China in Africa…One of the problems facing the country was that financial institutions were not focusing on financing production. Also, too few of the investments in public procurements were stimulating industrial development.

“While trade with other Brics partners quadrupled between 2006 and 2010, this mainly involved primary products, an issue that the Industrial Policy Action Plan is seeking to address,” he said.

The country was currently making a number of amendments to its national procurement mechanisms and the New Preferential Procurement Act is due to be implemented on December 7, 2011. Davies said this would designate particular sectors for a range of procurement activities that would focus on local participation.

Government, he said, was working to introduce localisation into its new policies and to build in embedded suppliers.

Further, the Industrial Development Corporation had revised its business model and would disburse R102-billion over the next five years for investment into sectors that could support growth and new jobs…Read more.

South Africa’s Police Chief Accused Of ‘Maladministration’ Over Lease Deal


A Police car in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image via Wikipedia

RTT News

July 15, 2011

(RTTNews) – South Africa’s Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Thursday accused the country’s police chief Gen. Bheki Cele of “maladministration” and improper conduct in the procurement of leases for police office space in the eastern port city of Durban.

In her report, Madonsela alleged that the police buildings in Durban was leased for a ten-year period at inflated prices from Roux Property Fund, owned by politically well-connected real estate magnate Roux Shabangu.

Madonsela admitted that her team failed to find any evidence of criminality in the lease deal for the new police headquarters in Durban. She, however, insisted that the 1.16-billion rand deal, which she claimed at least three times the market rate for the building, was “illegitimate” and unlawful.”

She also urged President Jacob Zuma to take action against Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde over the inflated lease agreement, pointing out that the pair was ultimately responsible for the “fatally flawed” deal.

“The failure of the national Commissioner to ensure that the procurement process complied with the said legal requirements… resulted in the invalid conclusion of the lease agreement to the detriment of the state, and therefore constituted maladministration,” she was quoted as saying in the 132-page report…Read more.

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