CAPE TOWN — General Bheki Cele knows he can no longer be an effective head of police. Instead, he will put on his hat and leave quietly if it will stop his name being tarnished any further.
“The commissioner is fed up,” Cele’s spokesperson, Vuyo Mkhize, told sister paper Beeld yesterday after President Jacob Zuma and Cele met on Friday night in Durban.
Mkhize added that Cele had “been fed up” since his suspension last year and became even more so after the Moloi Commission made “an unbalanced finding on him”.
The commission, chaired by judge Jake Moloi, earlier found that Cele was dishonest, negligent and not suited to serve as head of the police. Cele is very angry about this.
Mkhize said Cele was willing to leave “if the president asked him”, but if the president used the commission’s findings as the motivation for the request, he would go to court to clear his name.
This could entail financial claims, Mkhize added.
Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj yesterday admitted that Zuma and Cele had talked on Friday night about the contents of the Moloi report.
Maharaj added that the president would make public his decision as soon as the necessary processes had been completed.
This is the closest to date to an official confirmation of the report published in The Witness on Thursday that Zuma had already informed Cele of his dismissal on Tuesday.
An official announcement is expected before the end of the week and maybe today.
Mkhize said Friday’s meeting between Zuma and Cele took place after Cele had requested a meeting on May 27. The presidency gave Cele the option of two dates, either in Gauteng or in Durban.
Mkhize said that at the meeting the commissioner did not try to negotiate to keep his job, as he realised he could not function effectively as the head of a large organisation like the police if he had to suspect the motives of everything that passed over his desk “as part of his office routine”.
Referring to the renting of buildings in Pretoria and Durban at hugely inflated prices from entrepreneur Roux Shabangu, Mkhize said people forget it was only “a routine matter, despite the large amounts involved”.
While the door of the police seems to be closing behind the charismatic Cele, a political door is already opening.
The weekend papers reported that ANC heavyweights are ready to welcome Cele back into a party political position in the run-up to the ANC’s leadership elections and Mangaung conference in Bloemfontein in December.