Witness Reporter
3 minute read
28 May 2012

Cele eyes return to politics

Witness Reporter

BHEKI Cele intends to return to active politics and has no desire to become an ambassador should that be placed on the table.

BHEKI Cele intends to return to active politics and has no desire to become an ambassador should that be placed on the table.

His spokesperson, Vuyo Mkhize, said in reply to questions from The Witness: “Barring his current stint as police chief, General Cele has spent the past 30 years of his life as a full-time political activist and career politician.

“It would therefore be safe to assume that at the end of what would be an extremely successful stint as police chief, he would go back to politics.”

On whether Cele would consider a posting overseas as an ambassador — speculation that was rife last year — Mhize said: “He’s definitely not looking for any option that would take him out of the country.”

Mkhize confirmed that Cele had met ANC KZN regional chairpersons on the sidelines of the party’s provincial conference in Newcastle, but said he was not at liberty to divulge the substance of the talks.

“We can, however, confirm that the question of his nomination onto the NEC or any other leadership structure of the ANC was definitely not discussed at this meeting.”

The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Cele’s possible return to the NEC in the event that he is fired has been discussed and it quoted an unnamed source as saying the talks were “informal”.

Ahead of the party’s conference, there was speculation that there would be a resolution proposed from the conference floor for delegates to push for Cele to be appointed to the provincial cabinet if he is fired.

Cele was KZN’s community safety MEC when he was appointed Jackie Selebi’s successor as police chief in July 2009.

He resigned from the ANC’s NEC — the highest decision-making body outside the body’s elective conferences — at the time to take on the post in the public service.

Yesterday, Cele received the thumbs-up from the ANC on the South Coast, from which he hails.

The South Coast regional secretary, Mzwandile Mkhwanazi, said the region would always appreciate Cele’s role and contribution to the struggle.

“Because of that we will always support him no matter what the president’s decision is.

“There will always be a role for him in the community regardless of what charges he is facing now,” he said

However, Moses Mabhida regional chairperson Alpha Shelembe said Cele’s future could not be determined by the regions.

“Once the president makes his decision public about the future of General Cele, it will then be the ANC’s decision to determine his future.

“As members of the party we will abide by the decision of the state president who happens to the party president,” said Shelembe.

Mkhize repeated that he did not believe that Cele’s return to politicis would be compromised by the Moloi board of inquiry, which found him unfit to hold office.

“Most objective readers of the board’s report have tended to agree with our contention that there is something seriously wrong with this report.

“We are, therefore, still very much confident that, barring those who have swallowed that Sunday paper’s (the Sunday Times) propaganda, most South Africans, both inside and outside the ANC, agree that, the numerous vicious assaults on his integrity notwithstanding, General Cele’s reputation as a diligent, honest and dedicated servant of the people remains intact.”

Mkhize declined to say whether there had been any communication between Cele and Zuma.

In his reaction, presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said he was not in a position to say when Zuma was likely to decide on Cele’s fate.

He would only say that the matter was being handled “with the urgency it deserves”.

“I cannot confirm or deny the contents of a leaked report. I work with what the president has in front of him.

“As soon as the president is ready, his decision on the matter will be made public,” he said.