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Bheki Cele, suspended over allegations of dodgy property deals, has been replaced by Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega, South Africa’s first female police commissioner.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Cele, suspended last year after allegations of unlawful property deals, has been replaced by Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega.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

Why a South African Anti-Corruption Agency Must be Independent of the Police to be Effective


Institute for Security Studies

May 2, 2012

By Gareth Newham,  Head of the Crime and Justice Programme, ISS Pretoria

If it was not already clear why a dedicated anti-corruption agency capable of tackling powerfully connected people had to be independent of the South African Police Service (SAPS), the recent, and indeed ongoing failures of police leadership over the past few years should put this into perspective.

In 2010, ex-SAPS National Commissioner Jackie Selebi was convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to 15 years in prison. In 2011, the SAPS National Commissioner, Bheki Cele, was suspended pending the outcome of an inquiry into his fitness for office. This followed a finding by the Public Protector that his actions in relation to a R1.67 billion police lease deal were ‘improper, unlawful and amounted to maladministration.’

In addition, one of the most powerful SAPS Divisional Commissioners, head of Crime Intelligence Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli, is facing an astonishing array of allegations implicating him and his close colleagues in murder, rape and wide-scale corruption.  The National Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa has been accused of halting the Hawks’ investigation into Mdluli so as to protect him from further criminal charges, given Mdluli’s willingness to use his position to support Jacob Zuma’s intention to run for a second term as ANC president. Moreover, there are allegations emerging from investigations by the Hawks that Mthethwa illegally benefitted from the SAPS Secret Service Account to the tune of R195 581 for renovations to his personal residence, which was authorised by Mdluli.

Whether or not these allegations are ultimately proven, they have certainly severely undermined the public image of the police and further demoralised many of the honest hard working police officials expected to place themselves at risk in fighting crime.  Moreover, such allegations point to reasons why the political elite might choose not to strengthen the independence and ability of the Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigations (DPCI), commonly known as the Hawks, to investigate corruption committed by those at the highest levels of government…Read more.

South Africa police chief faces suspension


AFP – Sat, Sep 24, 2011

South Africa’s top policeman is expected to be suspended in the coming days over allegedly fraudulent police leases, the Sunday Times reported.

According to the South African Sunday paper, President Jacob Zuma will sign a letter suspending Bheki Cele upon his return from New York, where he attended the UN general assembly.

The national police commissioner was accused by the country’s anti-graft body of turning a blind eye to lease agreements reached with businessman Roux Shabangu for police office space at three times the market rate.

Zuma’s spokesman was quoted by the newspaper as admitting that a suspension had “the potential for causing some uncertainty in the police force.”

South Africa’s crime intelligence chief Richard Mdluli appeared in court on Thursday over fraud allegations, adding to a murder charge which led to his suspension in March.

Cele was appointed police chief in 2009 to replace Jackie Selebi, who had also been suspended on corruption charges and was last year sentenced to 15 years in jail.

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