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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Bheki Cele must apologise for telling activist Ian Cameron to ‘shut up’ – Parly’s ethics committee

Cele lost his cool during a community police imbizo in Gugulethu last year after being accused of failing the residents.

Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests has ordered Police Minister Bheki Cele to apologise for breaching the code of ethical conduct for MPs.

This comes more than a year after Cele told crime activist Ian Cameron to “shut up” after losing his temper during a community police forum in Gugulethu in July 2022.

Cameron had accused Cele of failing to ensure the safety of residents in Gugulethu and Nyanga.

ALSO READ: ‘Just go, Cele,’ says Steenhuisen as calls for police minister’s removal intensify

“You are failing your own Constitution, and not fulfilling your mandate to safeguard [these communities]. I don’t see you patrolling the area at night with the people here,” said Cameron.

“It’s unacceptable, sir. You talk down to the neighbourhood watches and don’t understand the policy framework. You are failing in your duties,” he said.

In response, Cele said: “I did not join human rights battles yesterday. That’s why I was sent to prison. That’s why I was sent to Robben Island because I was fighting for human rights.

“Don’t teach me about human rights. Don’t talk to me about the safety of my people. I fought for it… I nearly died for it. Don’t provoke me… don’t tell me about things you have studied and you have heard.

“I have lived this life. I have lived the life of being African… I have lived a life where my mother was called a kitchen girl and my father was called a kitchen boy [so] I’m not going to take any nonsense from someone who considers me a garden boy.

“Sit down and listen young man or get out!”

Cameron was forcefully removed from the venue by police officers.

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Cele’s spokesperson Lirandzu Themba later explained Cameron “was removed after repeatedly interrupting a meeting despite being given a fair chance to raise his concerns prior, without any interruptions”.

“Mr Cameron was escorted out of the meeting after failing to stop his disruptive behaviour,” Themba tweeted.

Cele must apologise

On Monday, parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interest found that Cele breached item read with 4.1.5 of the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interests.

WATCH: ‘You consider me a garden boy!’ – Bheki Cele berates crime activist

“More specifically Cel,e failed to maintain public confidence and trust in the integrity of Parliament and thereby engender the respect and confidence that society needs to have in Parliament asa representative institution when he became irate during the Imbizo and shouted ‘shut up’ to you,” said the committee in a letter to Cameron.

“In terms of item of the Code, that the Member enter an apology in the House for his conduct toward Mr Cameron during the SAPS imbizo.”

‘He must resign’ – Ian Cameron

Although Cameron welcomed the sanction against Cele, he still called for his resignation.

“Ordering Cele to apologise is a first and appreciated step, but we believe he owes the whole country an apology. Trust in the South African Police Service (SAPS) is at an all-time low, and crime is at such shocking levels that we landed at number three for the most unsafe countries.,” said Cameron in a statement.

ALSO READ: Did Bheki Cele lie about his parents being a ‘kitchen girl’ and ‘garden boy’?

“An honourable person would step out gracefully. But Cele seems too power-hungry for that. That is why Action Society will continue to demand that he be removed from his position as Minister of Police.

“Nothing has changed since that day, in fact, more people are dying. An apology without action will always be empty. The SAPS needs to be restructured and rebuilt. Cele needs to be the first to go.”

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