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Cele to challenge validity of inquiry report

Sapa

Suspended police commissioner Bheki Cele intends to challenge the validity of a board of inquiry report that recommends his dismissal.

Suspended police commissioner Bheki Cele. (Sapa)

“It is not even about the validity. There is no question whatsoever in Bheki Cele’s mind ... the report is invalid,” his spokesperson Vuyo Mkhize said on Friday.

“He is just going to court to satisfy his view that the report is invalid.”

Mkhize said the invalidity of the report was apparent to rational and objective readers. He declined to say when the court application would be made, or if it had already been made.

“For every one voice that calls for him to be fired, there are 100 calls for him to be reinstated,” he said.

Mkhize said calls for Cele’s dismissal were “nonsensical” and should “not be given any regard whatsoever”.

“We will go to court and seek a court intervention in the matter,” he said.

The eNews channel reported on Thursday night that the board of inquiry had recommended that Cele be removed. It found he lacked the capacity to execute his official duties efficiently and was not fit to hold office.

According to the report, the board found that his apparent unlawful conduct proved he was unable to hold office. Evidence also suggested there was a questionable relationship between Cele and property tycoon Roux Shabangu.

However, President Jacob Zuma’s spokesperson Mac Maharaj said this was speculation. “The president has received the report and is processing it, and until then he will not engage in speculation.”

Zuma appointed the board in November to probe Cele’s fitness to remain in office, and allegations of misconduct relating to two leases for new police headquarters in Pretoria and Durban, which Cele signed with Shabangu.

Public protector Thuli Madonsela found Cele’s action pertaining to the leases was improper, unlawful and amounted to misconduct.

The team which led evidence against Cele in the inquiry called for his dismissal.

He denies any wrongdoing.

Board of inquiry chairperson Judge Jake Moloi presented the inquiry’s report to Zuma on May 20.

The Democratic Alliance has called on Zuma to fire Cele.

“President Zuma must act swiftly and decisively upon the recommendations of the board and sack Bheki Cele as top cop once and for all,” said DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard. “The president must demonstrate that fighting crime is a priority for government.”

The Congress of the People said: “This is a logical turn of events when people holding high office behave in the manner he did.”

“Cele is yet another case that is painting a bleak picture for our hard-earned democracy,” it said.

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