EFF dismisses Cele’s removal ‘plot’ accusation as ‘gossip’

'We are not going to entertain the childish accusations,' says EFF deputy president Floyd Shivhambu.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has refuted claims that national police commissioner Khehla Sitole colluded with its leader Julius Malema to have Police Minister Bheki Cele fired.

This is after Cele made the scathing accusations during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) debate on Monday.

But EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu on Tuesday dismissed the claims as just “gossip and childish accusations” from Cele.

“We are not going to entertain the childish accusations that were made against the commander in chief about the plot to remove a certain minister,” Shivambu said during day two of the Sona debate.

ALSO READ: ‘My name is being tarnished for political reasons’: Sitole claps back at Cele

Shivambu has also questioned Cele’s behaviour on making such accusations as if it was intelligence.

“But also how do you as a minister come and badmouth your commissioner of police whatever personal differences you have, and then you still expect society to have faith in the police system.

“You have got a minister who openly does that in press conferences and then he repeats gossip as if it’s intelligence,” he said.

He further said that the EFF was not going to be drawn in entertaining Cele’s accusations, and revealed that it was still gathering evidence on ministers who hire hitman in attempt to kill members of parliament (MPs) who exposed corruption.

“We are not going to do that today, we will do it once we have gathered proper facts,” Shivambu added.

Sitole has since responded to Cele in a statement released on Tuesday, saying he was shocked by the minister’s allegations, adding that “his name and image is being tarnished for political reasons”.

The police commissioner confirmed that he met with Malema during a meeting, which was initiated by the Ministry of Police.

He said the meeting was held specifically at the behest of the deputy police minister, Cassel Charlie Mathale.

READ MORE:  Cele to unrest inquiry: I don’t recall seeing top cop Sitole in the ‘right places’

“The deputy minister requested General Sitole to meet with Julius Malema to address potential threats against him,” National police spokesperson, Vishnu Naidoo said.

“Mr Malema met with the national commissioner and the head of protection and security services [PSS], lieutenant-general, Sam Shitlabane in 2020 at the Tshwane Training Academy.

“The meeting was solely about the alleged threats against Mr Malema and nothing else to which feedback was provided to the deputy minister. The national commissioner was under the impression that the Minister was aware about the content of that meeting given that it was facilitated by his deputy,” the statement further reads.