Cele puts own woes aside
Suspended national police commissioner Bheki Cele on Monday took time away from his own woes to support his "foster daughter", Shauwn Mpisane, at her fraud trial.
Cele arrived alone at the Durban Magistrate's Court sporting one of his trademark hats.
He sat in the public gallery and smiled at Mpisane when she entered the dock.
While Mpisane's friends and family, dressed in branded clothing, flashy jewellery and high-wedged shoes, lingered in the foyer when proceedings adjourned for lunch, Cele left the courthouse.
He began laughing at the sight of at least seven press photographers waiting for him.
"You are acting like the president is coming out of court," he said to photographers as he walked towards his car.
His spokesman, Vuyo Mkhize, later said Cele regarded Mpisane as his daughter.
"I would not say that she is a close family friend because she is more like a foster daughter. She is the daughter of late friends of Mr Cele.
"He was in town so he thought it would be good to go and support a woman whom he regards as a daughter," he said.
Mkhize said Cele has "still heard nothing on his fate".
"He has always said that he would gladly walk away if asked to but he would fight if the decision to ask him to walk away was based on something unfair. In this case, the report of the board of inquiry by Justice Jake Moloi is what he is willing to fight against because it is unfair," Mkhize said.
Last month a board of inquiry led by Moloi recommended that Cele be fired. It said he was "dishonest" and was unfit for office because of his role in the R1.7-billion police offices leasing scandal.
The board was appointed by President Jacob Zuma six months after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that Cele was guilty of "maladministration" and his involvement in the deals was "improper".
The board found that senior members of the police had lied to protect Cele and that many of the written public submissions in support of Cele were identical but for the names of the deponents.
In a letter Cele wrote to Zuma last month, he maintained that the board's findings should be ignored.
The two met in Durban last week but the government has not disclosed what they discussed.
Mpisane's trial was postponed yesterday to allow the state to prepare its response to her application for more information on the 119 charges she is facing.
Wim Trengove SC told the court that the state had failed to disclose the names of those with whom Mpisane supposedly worked in the alleged fraud.
Mpisane allegedly submitted revised financial statements to the SA Revenue Service in which her company, Zikhulise Cleaning, made irregular and inflated claims with respect to purchases in 2008 to reduce its tax burden.
The state alleges that the company's book-keeper, Kishal Reddy, forged four invoices, allegedly on Mpisane's instruction, to reflect purchases of more than R5-million,
"Accused 2 (Mpisane) doesn't know what the state's case is and what did she do, where and when did she do it.
"She has a right to know what the state is alleging was her role in this fraud," Trengove said.
The state will respond today.
Mpisane is also charged with contravening the Companies Act relating to her 2005 conviction for fraud.
Mpisane's husband, Sbu, a former metro police constable, was investigated by the DA three years ago.
The party questioned how he could afford to drive a Lamborghini on a R15000-a-month salary.
He resigned from the police and joined his wife's company, which earned millions in contracts it was awarded by the Durban metro and the KwaZulu-Natal government.