Former national police commissioner Bheki Cele yesterday slammed President Jacob Zuma for firing him, calling his decision "irrational and arbitrary".
In papers filed in the Pretoria High Court yesterday, Cele launched a scathing attack on the board of inquiry that recommended his axing, describing it as biased.
Cele questioned the integrity and decision-making of the board chairman, Judge Jakes Moloi, describing his public comments as "judicially unethical".
The judge spoke on a radio show the day Cele was fired.
Cele wants the court to set aside his dismissal and institute a complete review of Judge Moloi's report, its findings and recommendations.
Zuma is one of six respondents. The others are Moloi, his two board members, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and new national police commissioner Riah Phiyega.
Cele accused Zuma of not having paid "any particular attention to the range of other measures it was open for him to take".
He further described Zuma's decision as "not justifiable given the constitutional objective of the commissioner's office".
Cele lambasted Judge Moloi for ignoring witnesses who had testified about his conduct.
"It is not surprising that the board ruled as irrelevant evidence presented by witnesses who testified on how I discharged my core functions and duties as the national police commissioner," the former general said.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela launched two separate investigations into police head office leases in Pretoria and Durban respectively in August 2010.
Based on the findings of her reports, Zuma suspended Cele in October and simultaneously announced the inquiry.
Zuma fired Cele last month after the board of inquiry made its recommendations.
At a press conference yesterday to announce his intention to bring court action to fight his dismissal, Cele said: "It was like so many other commissions of inquiry that are rigged.
"Dirty tricks were used. There were individuals who courted corrupt politicians, who put themselves before service delivery. These political overlords have betrayed the cause of the ANC," he said.
In his 93-page founding affidavit, Cele said Judge Moloi and the board ignored and failed to consider much of the evidence placed before them.
He insisted the findings were factually flawed because:
- Moloi did not have any basis on which to decide he was dishonest;
- Moloi found him guilty of conflict of interest because he knew property owner Roux Shabangu;
- Moloi found that he approved funding and a needs analysis for the procurement of two police buildings;
- Moloi believed he failed to appreciate the needs and importance of the responsibilities of a national police commissioner; and
The board mistakenly approached the inquiry as limited to his conduct as the accounting officer of the police service.
Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said last night it was too early to comment on the matter.
"I doubt if we will even be commenting," he said.
Last week, at the ANC's policy conference, Zuma and Cele exchanged greetings, with Zuma making a gesture to the former commissioner as if to ask if he was "okay".
An angry Judge Moloi said last night he had not been served with any papers.
"I am definitely not prepared to discuss this. Not at all. Not now and not ever," he said, before slamming down the phone.
Cele maintains his hands are clean, blaming the police service' s former procurement head, Hamilton Hlela for the lease agreements.
Hlela went on early retirement before the board of inquiry sat, stating that he had not seen eye to eye with Cele, and that the police service had become an extremely stressful environment to work in.
Cele said he had an unblemished record as police commissioner and challenged Zuma and Mthethwa to "produce any adverse comment by the cabinet" concerning the manner in which he did his job.
It is expected that Cele's case will be heard on August 10 in the Pretoria High Court.