Bright light of truth is shining on Cele
The Sunday Times: A YEAR and nine months ago, this newspaper published a series of stories exposing irregularities surrounding the leasing of police buildings in Pretoria and Durban perpetrated by the police commissioner, Bheki Cele.
Since then, the reporters who wrote that story have endured arrest, surveillance and smears that claimed their reporting was not impartial.
We have stood by our reporters and their story through thick and thin.
This week, we were totally vindicated.
The detailed 114-page report by Judge Jake Moloi has backed up every single assertion in our reports.
The phrases and adjectives used to describe the national commissioner's conduct are stark and severe, and are worth enumerating at length.
They include: "an abrogation and a neglect of duty of the highest order"; "complete disregard for the constitutional and legislative precepts"; "misconducted himself in the process of procuring the leases"; "is not fit for the office he holds"; "lacks capacity for executing his official duties efficiently"; "complete lack of even appreciating his position as the head of the SAPS"; "he was hell-bent on ensuring Shabangu secured the Durban lease"; "his denial was meant to mislead"; "dishonest and not truthful"; and "failed to ensure that the procurement and provisioning system which was in place was adhered to".
The report's findings are devastating for Cele. They state that he "grossly misconducted himself with regard to the procurement of the Sanlam Middestad and the Transnet buildings in Pretoria and Durban, respectively. He also partook in processes which compromised the procurement procedures."
It finds that Cele "retrofitted" a needs analysis to match the capacity of the buildings offered.
"The board is duty bound to recommend that the president of the Republic of South Africa order his removal from office in terms of provisions of section 8(6)(b)(v) of the South African Police Service Act."
This report and an earlier damning finding by the public protector ought to finally draw a line under a tawdry episode in this country's history of governance.
But this being South Africa, there is no doubt still more to come. Cele and those who conduct spin on his behalf will - you would think laughably - continue to insist on his innocence. No doubt the motives of the judge, his board, the public protector and the journalists who wrote the story will be called into question as if they are all part of a giant conspiracy to remove from office a poor, innocent, effective crime fighter.
It won't work. The bright light of truth is finally shining into the eyes of even the biggest doubters.