The High Court in Pretoria has set aside then president Jacob Zuma’s decision to fire then police commissioner Bheki Cele after a public protector report and a board of inquiry found adversely against the commissioner.
The court also awarded a costs order in Cele’s favour.
The board of inquiry’s report was the reason offered by Zuma in 2012 for why he was releasing Cele.
Cele is now the police minister, having made a return to the forefront of the state and ANC politics by supporting the rise of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
In 2012, a board of inquiry found that Cele had acted in a questionable manner in relation to two lease deals for the SAPS. They found he had had an undeclared conflict of interest and was dishonest in dealing with the leases.
That finding has now been found to have been without basis.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela had also found in 2011 that Cele appeared to be guilty of improper conduct and maladministration when the police entered into a R500 million lease for the Sanlam Middestad Building in Pretoria, which was the first of the deals the board of inquiry examined.
Madonsela’s findings against Cele have not been challenged.
Madonsela recommended that the lease involving the police and public works departments with property magnate Roux Shabangu’s Roux Property Fund needed to be declared invalid.
Cele’s spokesperson on Tuesday said the minister had always maintained his innocence and that he should never have been fired.
Cele also thanked his supporters for backing him during his seven-year legal battle to clear his name.