24 October 2011
South African President Jacob Zuma has suspended National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele while a newly established board of inquiry probes allegations of misconduct against him.
“I have … decided to suspend the national commissioner from duty with immediate effect, pending the outcome of the inquiry, in terms of section 8 (3) (a) read with Section 9 (1) of the South African Police Service Act,” Zuma announced at a special media briefing in Pretoria on Monday.
The President said he had established a board of inquiry into allegations of misconduct against Cele, to make findings and recommendations. He added that Cele would be entitled to his full salary, allowances, privileges and benefits during his period of suspension.
“In August, I informed the National Commissioner, General Bheki Cele, of my intention to institute a board of inquiry to look into the allegations of misconduct, in relation to the procurement of office accommodation for the South African Police Service, as per the findings and recommendations of the Public Protector,” Zuma said.
During her investigation into the lease agreements for police headquarters in Pretoria and offices in Durban, South Africa’s Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, found that Cele’s conduct as the SAPS’ accounting officer was improper, unlawful conduct which amounted to maladministration.
Madonsela’s first report on the police leasing deals, released in February, pertained to her investigation into the deal for the Middestad building in Pretoria, which was leased for R500-million from businessman Roux Shabangu.
The second, released in July, scrutinised the R1.16-billion leasing of Transnet Tower in Durban, also from Shabangu.
Madonsela found that the leases were unlawful, invalid and “fatally flawed”.
Zuma said the board of inquiry would be chaired by retired Justice Yvonne Mokgoro. Other members of the board are Advocate Terry Motau SC and Adv Anthea Platt.
The President said Major-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi would serve as acting national commissioner until further notice.