Police Minister Bheki Cele has indicated that he will review the parliamentary decision that he should say sorry for his tirade towards Ian Cameron.
According to Cele, the media headlines that he was “found guilty” are laughable and the sanction imposed on him is even more so. “We are going to review this because we do not agree with this,” Cele said during a media conference in Cape Town on Tuesday when he was asked about this.
“There are steps we can take going forward. We absolutely disagree with this outcome. So, the minister of police is going to take it under review,” said Cele.
Parliament’s joint committee on ethics and members’ interests has found that Cele has breached the code of ethical conduct and that it will make a recommendation to the National Assembly that Cele should apologize for his behavior towards Cameron, head of community safety for Action Society.
In July last year, during a police imbizo in Gugulethu, Cape Town, Cele lashed out at Cameron after the latter confronted him about the police’s shortcomings. A confrontation arose between Cele and Cameron during which Cele shouted at Cameron: “You consider me a garden boy. Be quiet! Be quiet! Sit and listen young man, or get out.” When Cameron refused to leave the hall he was “violently” removed by the police and escorted to his car.
Cameron said earlier in response to the parliament’s decision that Cele owes the whole country an apology and must do the honorable thing and resign.
“Ordering Cele to apologize is a first and appreciated step, but we believe he owes the whole country an apology,” Cameron said in response. “Confidence in the South African Police Service (SAPS) is at an all-time low, while the shocking levels of crime have led to South Africa being considered the third most unsafe country in the world.”
Cameron still believes that Cele should resign from office. “An honorable person will walk out gracefully. But Cele seems to be too power hungry for that. Therefore, Action Society will continue to demand that he be removed from his position as Minister of Police.
“Nothing has changed since that day; in fact, more people are dying now. An apology without action will always be empty. The SAPS must be restructured and rebuilt. Cele must be the first to go.”
According to the committee, in his written representations, Cele did not specifically touch on the incident, nor did he mention that he shouted at Cameron to keep quiet. However, video footage taken on the day and played to the committee shows that Cele was furious and that he did shout at the complainant.
The committee found that even if Cele was dissatisfied with the way in which Cameron touched on the issue at the imbizo, he was nevertheless required as a member of parliament to act in a way that would restore members of the public’s trust and confidence in the integrity of parliament would retain.