/ 9 November 2014

Jacob Zuma defends his decision to fire Bheki Cele

President Jacob Zuma.
President Jacob Zuma.

President Jacob Zuma has defended his decision to fire former police commissioner Bheki Cele in court papers filed on his behalf, the Sunday Independent reported.

“[Cele] failed to make out a case for the review of the president’s decision,” said Zuma’s legal adviser Boniswe Makhene in court papers quoted by the newspaper. In July 2012, Cele launched a court application to contest the findings of a report – used to fire him from his job as national police commissioner – written by a board of inquiry led by Judge Jake Moloi. 

The board found that Cele had acted dishonestly and with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation to two police lease deals he signed. According to the paper on Sunday, Makhene said that in light of the inquiry’s finding, the president found the “removal” of Cele was warranted. 

“No other step would be reasonably appropriate.” 

The role played by a national police commissioner “in respecting and protecting and upholding the law”, was also taken into consideration. Makhene said that Cele had also failed to produce evidence that could “substantiate his bold assertion that the president’s decision was actuated by ulterior motivates”.

Cele’s lawyer, Dinesha Deeplat from Strauss Daly Attorneys, told the Sunday Independent that their heads of argument were still to be filed – following which they would apply for the matter to be set down. 

Cele wants the report declared invalid and the recommendations declared irrational and invalid. In May last year, the now deputy agriculture minister’s spokesperson Vuyo Mkhize said that Cele was not looking for any type of compensation, but rather was pursuing the court action as a matter of principle. – Sapa