What happened, when and who was involved

25 September 2011 - 05:25 By Sunday Times
This is how the Sunday Times broke the news of the dodgy leases and subsequently reported on the developments in the Bheki Cele saga
This is how the Sunday Times broke the news of the dodgy leases and subsequently reported on the developments in the Bheki Cele saga

National police commissioner General Bheki Cele's dealings have been under the spotlight since the Sunday Times exposed his involvement in two police rental deals totalling R1.7-billion.

Now the allegations threaten to end his career as police chief. This is how it all unfolded:

  • August 1 2010: the Sunday Times breaks the story on the shady police lease deals for new police headquarters in Pretoria and Durban;
  • August 4: Mzilikazi wa Afrika, co-author of the exposé, is arrested on what investigators later admit are politically motivated charges. The charges are later withdrawn;
  • August 5: the public protector launches an investigation into both lease deals and is joined later by the Special Investigating Unit;
  •  August 16: Minister of Public Works Geoff Doidge suspends the lease for the Sanlam Middestad building in Pretoria, which was signed in July, based on a damning legal opinion by law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr;
  •  October 31: President Jacob Zuma replaces Doidge with Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde;
  •  November 26: the lease is signed for the Transnet building in Durban;
  • December 7 2010: Mahlangu-Nkabinde reinstates the Pretoria lease, despite receiving two legal opinions telling her the agreement is unlawful;
  •  February 22 2011: the public protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, releases her findings into the Sanlam Middestad building and finds Cele guilty of improper conduct and maladministration;
  • February 27: the Durban lease falls through after businessman Roux Shabangu fails to get bank guarantees to buy the building so he can lease it to police;
  • May 8: the Sunday Times exposes Shabangu as a frontrunner for another shady police lease tender worth R1-billion for the relocation of the provincial SAPS in Durban. The deal is stopped;
  • July 14: Madonsela releases her final report into both lease deals, now calculated to be worth R1.78-billion. She finds Cele and Mahlangu-Nkabinde guilty of improper conduct and maladministration for their roles in driving both deals;
  • August 7: after taking legal advice, the DA lays criminal charges againstShabangu, Cele and Mahlangu-Nkabinde for breaking several laws, including the Public Finance Management Act and the Public Protector Act;
  • August 17: Mahlangu-Nkabinde fails to arrive in parliament to explain her role in the police lease scandal;
  • September 20: Mahlangu-Nkabinde applies to the High Court in Pretoria to have the deals cancelled; and
  • September 22: President Jacob Zuma publicly confirms his intention to suspend Cele.