ANC calls on Zuma to give Cele a new job
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is in talks with President Jacob Zuma about giving axed national police commissioner Bheki Cele a new job.
Willies Mchunu, the party's provincial deputy chairman and KwaZulu-Natal MEC for transport, community safety and liaison, told delegates on the first day of a two-day policy workshop in Durban on Sunday that the provincial leadership was discussing with Zuma a way for Cele to play a role in politics in the province.
Sources at the workshop said Mchunu had urged delegates to be sympathetic to Cele.
Mchunu reportedly said that both the ruling party's provincial leadership and Zuma recognised Cele's contribution to the province, in which he served as MEC for transport, community safety and liaison, and as national police commissioner, and that his sacking should not mean that he would be thrown into the political wilderness.
The DA has called for criminal charges to be preferred against Cele for his role in the police headquarters leasing scandal.
The DA's Diane Kohler Barnard said she would press for criminal charges against him following the findings of the board of inquiry led by Judge Jake Moloi. The board investigated Cele's fitness to hold public office following the multi-million-rand police leasing scandal relating to two buildings, in Pretoria and Durban, owned by businessman Roux Shabangu.
The board was set up after two damning reports from the public protector on Cele's role in the leasing of to buildings by the police for a total or R1.7-billion.
In November, former public works minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde was given the chop in a cabinet reshuffle because she had approved the leases. Cele was suspended pending an inquiry.
Yesterday, Kohler Barnard said Cele should have his day in court and answer to the findings against him.
"The DA will be seeking a commitment from Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to this end or we will take the matter up ourselves," she said. "I'm going to give the police minister a week to do the right thing. If he does nothing, then I will pursue it myself."
But Cele's spokesman, Vuyo Mkhize, said: "They should bring it on. They should hurry and institute those [criminal] charges."
Mkhize said Cele would this week file papers in the Johannesburg High Court challenging his dismissal.
Zweli Mnisi, a spokesman for the police ministry, refused to comment on Cele's future yesterday.
He said that he could not comment on a report that had not been publicly released.
Zuma's spokesman, Mac Maharaj, could not be reached for comment on Sunday.