Police commissioner Bheki Cele first heard about his suspension by President Jacob Zuma when someone called him on Monday morning this week to say it would happen, although the caller did not tell him when, the Mail & Guardian has learned.
The letter confirming his suspension arrived at his house only later, on Monday night, hours after the country had already been told, giving him no time to prepare himself or his family, said sources close to him.
Cele said he was expecting to give his side of the story to the board of inquiry investigating his case, which will be run by retired Constitutional Court judge Yvonne Mokgoro. “My day will come at the board of inquiry,” said Cele, following his suspension. “I haven’t yet been contacted by the board though. I have no idea when it will happen.”
There is concern among those close to him that Cele might have been treated with indifference over his suspension because he has been accused of being party to a political plot to oust Zuma, which he has vigorously denied.
This week he said he did not believe that so-called plotters had even met in Estcourt earlier this year to force Zuma from office, as alleged in an intelligence report declassified by Richard Mdluli, the former crime intelligence chief. “I don’t believe it an inch,” said Cele.