National police commissioner Bheki Cele is expected to hand in his resignation – believed to be already signed and sealed – to President Jacob Zuma this week, which could pave his way to a smooth transition to a political appointment in KwaZulu-Natal.
And speaking to the Daily News on Monday, he said that if he received a golden handshake, he would give it to an orphanage.
Sources close to Cele have confirmed the development but the suspended police boss refused to deny or confirm his resignation.
Instead Cele spoke about life after the SAPS, relocating to KZN and his close relationship with the president.
Zuma had met Cele in Durban on Friday to discuss the report of the board of inquiry, which was established by Zuma last year to investigate Cele’s role in police building lease agreements.
Zuma has yet to officially release the report. However, it has been reported that Judge Jake Moloi, head of the inquiry, found that Cele’s involvement in the R1.6 billion in leases was unlawful and amounted to maladministration – a finding that Cele has dismissed as a “crude stitch-up job” and which he has vowed to challenge in court.
Reacting on Monday to a statement by the DA that he should be given the boot – and not a golden handshake – an angry Cele said that was never his wish.
“They can give me a diamond or platinum handshake. I don’t want it. That was not something I negotiated or even thought about. In fact, if it is offered to me, I will donate every cent of it to an orphanage.”
Cele said on Monday if it was the last thing he did, he would set the record straight and reclaim his image as an honest person.
“With regard to my fate with the police, I have met President Jacob Zuma and we have discussed issues, which I cannot divulge before he makes an announcement,” he said.
“He will tell the country whether I am fired or if I have resigned. In fact, I am leaving for Pretoria tonight. I hope to get clarity on my situation before the week ends.”
Cele described Zuma as his “comrade, with whom I go back many years...”.
He said whatever the decision, he harboured no ill feelings.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the president for giving me the opportunity to work for two years as the national police commissioner.”
Once his fate was finalised, Cele would go back to say his goodbyes to his police “family”.
He said he was humbled by calls from within the police that he return to duty.
“I loved being a crime fighter. Many people knew I was passionate about the job. I know that if it was in the hands of many policemen and women, they would not have allowed me to go,” he said.
“But, unfortunately, that decision is made by higher powers. I have accepted that.”
Cele said he planned on relocating to KwaZulu-Natal, once the dust had settled. “I want to come back home,” he said. “You can chase an animal away, but it always comes back home. My wife, who has been my rock, is also from KZN. Our families are here and they want us back.”
While some of his family had accepted the recent goings-on in Cele’s life, others have found it difficult.
“Once this is all over, I want to get the families together and spend quality time with them. It will also give me an opportunity to present the facts to them and explain exactly what has transpired in recent months.”
Speculation is rife that Cele is scheduled to make a political come-back in KZN and has the support of the region’s structures.
When questioned about a Hawks investigation into how his cellphone was intercepted by the police’s crime intelligence unit, Cele said: “Ask those who bugged it why they did it. My phone was illegally bugged. It was not a mistake.”
“But, the truth around that will also come to light in due course. Until then, I will sit back and wait. It does not stress me – none of this stresses me. My patience will yield answers in due course... .”