Cele talking 'rubbish'
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has called on former police commissioner Bheki Cele to explain the "hot air" surrounding the police "hit list" of senior officers and tell him where he got the "rubbish" from.
"He must explain where he gets these things and goes around saying things about lists," he said.
Mthethwa was speaking in Pretoria yesterday after individually meeting senior police officials said to be on the purported hit list in an attempt to establish its veracity.
The list of 18 was reportedly mentioned by Cele at the funeral of Lieutenant-General Mzondeki Tshabalala on Saturday. Tshabalala, who was found dead in his office at the police headquarters in Pretoria on Christmas Eve, was said to have topped the list.
Others said to be on the list included Lieutenant-General Anwar Dramat, head of the elite police unit the Hawks, suspended crime intelligence boss Major-General Chris Ngcobo, disgraced senior officer Lieutenant-General Mondli Zuma, police supply chain management divisional commissioner Gary Kruser, KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonye Ngobeni, and acting Kwa-Zulu-Natal crime intelligence chief Lieutenant-General Thuso Tshika.
Mthethwa cut short his trip to Mpumalanga, where he was supposed to attend the ANC's national executive committee gathering, to meet the police officials said to be on the list.
Mthethwa said after the meeting that none of the senior police officers knew about the list.
"It basically came to one thing - this is hot air. It is rubbish. Somebody concocted this ... to distract [us] ," he said.
He said he had urged the generals and brigadiers not to be distracted, but to focus on their work.
"... [The hit list] is a non-issue, basically. It is malicious [and] meant to cause confusion. Unfortunately, it is not going to succeed in causing confusion," he said.
Mthethwa said there had been claims that members of non-statutory forces such as the ANC's Umkhonto we Sizwe and the PAC's Azanian People's Liberation Army, as well as former homeland soldiers and policemen and women, were also on the list.
"There was a process of integration. All are treated equally, there are no preferences. [The hit list] plays on division, with people wanting to divide the SA Police Service," he concluded.
Dramat declined to comment.
Cele could not be reached for comment. - Additional reporting by Graeme Hosken