Minister Bheki Cele’s Rugby World Cup visit under further scrutiny

Ministers Bheki Cele, Fikile Mbalula at the Rugby World Cup earlier this year. Picture: Twitter

Ministers Bheki Cele, Fikile Mbalula at the Rugby World Cup earlier this year. Picture: Twitter

Published Dec 8, 2023


Cape Town - The police ministry will face further scrutiny over Minister Bheki Cele’s executive assistant who travelled to France for the Rugby World Cup final, costing the taxpayer nearly R450 000.

The expense has since raised concern over the priorities of the ministry, with the DA also lodging a Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia) request for details around the expenditure.

In response to a DA parliamentary question, Cele said his trip was sponsored by a private company, while taxpayers paid for his executive assistant to the tune of R446 339.43.

The ministry additionally paid R33 256 for Cele’s subsistence and travel, and travel insurance.

The DA spokesperson for police, Okkie Terblanche, said they had submitted a Paia application to ensure that the travel was not provided by a company that is involved in the supply chain of SAPS equipment and/or other tenders.

It would also submit a further Paia application for details around the executive assistant’s travel expense.

“The minister was not forthcoming as to which private entity provided the all-expenses-paid trip and, as such, the DA will submit a Paia request to the minister to ascertain some of the following information: the name of the private entity; whether Cele’s assistant flew in business or first class, and stayed in 5-star hotels which were for the taxpayers’ dime; what are the details with regards to the purpose of the assistant travelling to the World Cup; whether any additional expenses were paid for by the taxpayer for VIP protection; and whether the private company has any dealings with the SAPS or government.”

Action Society SA said it was concerned about the news.

“So taxpayers paid nearly R500 000 for Bheki Cele’s assistant to go with him to the Rugby World Cup final in France.

“Taxpayers also paid for Cele’s travel insurance and his travel allowance. What a stand up police minister this while cops don’t get paid their deserved overtime or have working vehicles or even paper to write on.”

The police ministry did not respond to further questions by deadline yesterday.

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