Cele wants his day in court

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iol news pic cele INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Former national police commissioner Bheki Cele. Photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Axed national police chief Bheki Cele vowed on Wednesday to approach the High Court in Pretoria in a bid to get clarity on the reasons for his dismissal.

Cele told reporters in Pretoria he wanted the court to declare retired judge Jake Moloi's report factually and legally unsound.

"I am going to court because I want the President 1/8Jacob Zuma 3/8 to clarify which specific findings of the Moloi report he upheld and relied on to arrive at his decision 1/8to fire me 3/8," he said.

"The only conclusion I could draw after reading the report is that someone must have prevailed upon justice Jake Moloi to make sure that he returns a recommendation that I be fired, at whatever cost."

Cele said he would file the application before the end of the week.

He would also lodge a complaint with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) against Moloi at the end of the review process.

"Justice Moloi... must have taken a conscious decision to abandon his oath of judicial office and resolved to lead the stature of the august office he holds to a cynical plot, to unjustly tarnish my reputation and hound me out of my job," said Cele.

He said during the board of inquiry hearings Moloi was very hostile towards him.

"I felt humiliated and abused," said Cele.

He said it was strange that Moloi's report found him unfit for the job of police commissioner, though his performance in crime fighting exceeded that of all his predecessors.

Cele said he would also ask the court to deal with the aspect of Moloi's report that recommended a criminal investigation be opened against him.

"The application... will lay bare the monumental errors of fact, logic, and law that litter this report," he said.

"I took great comfort in the fact that... the board of inquiry was going to conduct its work in the open.... Little did I know how misplaced my faith was in the integrity of justice Jake Moloi," said Cele.

He said if the court found Moloi's report to be flawed, it would mean that Zuma's decision to fire him was invalid and unlawful.

"I hope that this is a risk that the president's advisers considered at length, and took out adequate insurance cover on, before deciding to advise him to fire me."

Cele said his relationship with the president remained excellent nevertheless, adding that he did not blame Zuma.

"The root of the relationship is long; 25 years," he said.

Cele said he wanted to make it clear that he was never offered a golden handshake and had not been offered other jobs.

"I did not refuse any golden handshake, it was not offered. If it is offered I will refuse it," he said.

Regarding his relationship with Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Cele said he had nothing to say to him and had not been contacted by him. He would not elaborate on why he would not talk to Mthethwa.

When asked what he would do next, Cele said he was going to KwaZulu-Natal to relax and think. However, he did not rule out going back into politics.

"I love politics and politics loves me. I would not be surprised if I go back to the active political life."

Cele said he would never abandon the ANC.

He congratulated the newly appointed police commissioner Mangwashi Victoria "Riah" Phiyega.

"She did not steal my job, she answered the same call I did three years ago."

Cele said he supported Phiyega, and advised her to work with police officers who were out in the field every day, and not just the high-ranking officials.

"Work with the generals, but make sure you work most with your foot soldiers," he said.

"Take care of the foot soldiers - they are the people fighting crime."

Although Phiyega had a strong background in administration, Cele said the job of police commissioner had little to do with administration and more with the work on the ground - "being in the trenches with the men and women in blue".

Cele said he did not know Phiyega, but he believed Zuma would always choose competent people.

Although Cele would be going to court, he said he would leave quietly.

"I will not engage in any pointless back-chattings; I will simply shut up and go home."

He loved the job of police commissioner and would miss it.

"I must admit I love the job, I really love the job. It's difficult but doable."

When asked if his hands were dirty, Cele said: "If you suspect they are dirty, take me to court."

Moloi said in a statement: "The board was properly constituted and it did its work transparently without fear or favour and the process was open to the public."

The board of inquiry would not involve itself in a public spat with anyone including Cele, his spokeswoman Bongiwe Gambu said.

"Judge Moloi will wait for any action that may follow as a result of the work of the board," she said. - Sapa


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