There are more than 160 accounts on Twitter and Facebook which have profile pictures and details of Cele, police ministry spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said.
Some of the images are as old as 10 years, from when Cele was the national police commissioner.
One account has just under 60,000 followers who believe they are following and interacting with the police minister, Peters said.
Cele does not have a social media account – neither a private one nor an official one, Peters said.
“Minister Cele has denounced any social media account in his name as fake and has issued a stern warning to those imposters whose motive for impersonating the minister cannot be for anything else but to draw unsuspecting social media users into their criminal activities,” Peters said.
Investigations by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) were under way to identify and locate the “fake account operators”, Peters added.
Peters said the danger of the accounts was that social media users might believe they would be able to share tip-offs with the “imposters”, and the information might “fall into the wrong hands”.
“This in itself poses a risk on the personal safety and the lives of law-abiding citizens whose intention is to work and collaborate with the police on crime prevention and combating.”