KZN party unhappy at axing of Cele
Until recently, Zuma has enjoyed solid support from his home province of KwaZulu-Natal. Now several leaders from regions in the province are not only unhappy about Zuma’s decision to sack Cele but also because it came just days before the provincial executive committee (PEC) was to meet Zuma in a bid to persuade him to spare Cele.
The leaders said Cele had been one of three members the committee planned to include, but his dismissal means he would no longer be eligible.
“The president clearly pre-empted the meeting of the KZN PEC. His timing to fire Cele is curious as it happened just days after the process to co-opt three additional members took place,” said one of the leaders, who did not want to be named.
“We do have reservations about the way he was treated by the president with regards to the inquiry, but we respect his decision. However, we believe he [Cele] has a role in politics and we will find a role for him in the ANC NEC [national executive committee] when the nominations start in August.”
Judge me on the outcomes
Meanwhile, new national police commissioner Riah Phiyega said in Pretoria yesterday that, although she had never been a police officer, “you don’t have to be a drunkard to own a bottle store”.
“Using the principle, I believe we can succeed. I don’t have experience, but give me 12 months and judge me on the outcomes,” Phiyega said at her first press conference after being appointed on Tuesday.
She is a trained social worker and was an executive at Transnet and Absa, among others. She is known to have had a prickly relationship with Absa chief executive Maria Ramos, and left her positions at Transnet and Absa shortly after Ramos took charge of them.
Phiyega said that by working with senior officers within the SAPS she would succeed in the fight against crime. “I go back to my kindergarten time – seeking counsel, learning and listening. They can hold my hand and we can make it happen.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, who flanked Phiyega at the briefing.
“This principle of the drunkard and the bottle store is very relevant. Was the giant IBM rescued by an IT specialist? No. The same with General Electric’s [former chief executive] Jack Welch – is he an engineer? No. It really doesn’t matter what experience the commissioner has,” he said.
Although crime statistics showed a marginal improvement under Cele’s reign, there was also an increase in the number of complaints lodged with the Independent Complaints Directorate against police officers.
“We want our public to want to give SAPS officers a hug when they see them, to give them a glass of water, to be proud of them. Let’s take some Phuza Amandla and some Red Bull and start building that type of police service. Nothing is insurmountable. We have been charged to rescue the situation and we will do so,” Phiyega said.
A former colleague, who did not want to be named, said that she was “10 000% behind Zuma”.