OB must clip flying Cele’s wings

Henry

On Monday, the DA lodged a complaint with the office of the Public Protector (PO) against Police Minister Bheki Cele for his alleged blatant disregard for taxpayers’ money when he used an official police helicopter to escort him to the launch of the ANC last weekend. ‘s manifesto at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in KwaZulu-Natal.

Andrew Whitfield, the DA’s spokesperson on police, told RNews earlier that Cele’s helicopter trick was a gross misuse of state resources and he must pay for every flight minute the helicopter was in the air.

He now says Cele is simply continuing to burn taxpayers’ money for his personal benefit, “something that is in direct conflict with the code of ethics for members of the executive authority”.

“This is the second time in a row that Cele has misused taxpayers’ money. Just last year, thousands of rands were spent on his personal assistant to travel with him to the final of the Rugby World Cup in France. The OB is already investigating this matter as well.

“Few. Cele’s blatant disregard for the code of ethics and abuse of power is an indication of the state in which our country’s policing is.

“With ever-increasing crime rates, police members across the country are pleading for more resources to combat crime, but here our minister has used essential state resources as his own personal taxi,” says Whitfield.

He says Cele not only acted in a manner unbecoming of a minister, but also abused his position to benefit himself unnecessarily and abuse resources; “clear violations in terms of the code of ethics”.

As such, the DA requested the OB’s office to investigate and make a decision regarding the following issues:

  1. That the use of the police helicopter was for private/party use and not in line with the performance of Cele’s duties as minister.
  2. That Cele be ordered to reimburse the police for all costs incurred for the personal use of the helicopter, including fuel, rental time, airport tax and any other costs incurred as a result.

Whitfield says a minister of police only has executive supervisory powers and is not responsible for any “on-the-ground operations”, despite Cele’s comments on this in several interviews.

“It is clear that he was at the stadium in his capacity as an ANC member and any use of state resources is strictly prohibited.

“Bheki Cele’s tyrannical rule over the police must end. With pres. Cyril Ramaphosa who protects Cele at every turn to prevent any further exodus of ANC voters, especially in KZN, is the only way to remove Cele to end the ANC rule as well.”

Brig. Athlenda Mathe, spokesperson for the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints), said earlier that it was untrue that the police helicopter was used for Cele’s personal use. She says the helicopter was deployed, as with any other large gathering, to monitor the large crowd.