Cape Town - The Office of the Public Protector has confirmed that it will be investigating Police Minister Bheki Cele, who travelled to Paris to attend the Rugby World Cup last year, taking his assistant allegedly at the expense of the state.
This comes after the DA lodged a complaint with the public protector, saying that the minister was in breach of his duties and obligations as set out in the Executive Ethics Code.
Okkie Terblanche, DA spokesperson on police, said the minister was funded by an as-yet-unidentified “private company”, and his assistant was financed by the South African taxpayer, who, despite a police budget already stretched to breaking point, sponsored Cele’s assistant’s trip to the tune of R446 339.43.
“As the DA has said many times before, not only was the trip itself clearly unrelated to the minister’s official functions, but by dipping into the public purse to finance his assistant’s European getaway, the minister has breached the provisions of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act 82 of 1998 and the Executive Ethics Code,” Terblanche said.
“The DA’s original complaint detailed the minister’s responses to several parliamentary questions that laid bare these expenditures and informed the Office of the Public Protector that the DA believes the minister to be in breach of his duties and obligations set out in the Executive Ethics Code.”
The Office of the Public Protector confirmed that the matter was under investigation.
“Accordingly, Section 7(2) of the Public Protector Act 23 of 1994 prohibits the disclosure, by any person, of the contents of any document or record of any evidence given before the public protector or deputy public protector during an investigation.”
The DA said the Office of the Public Protector had informed it that a senior investigator had been appointed to head the investigation.
“We trust that the public protector’s investigation will be conducted with vigour, that it will bear fruit, and that the minister will be held accountable for his actions.
“The DA will also lodge an official ethics complaint with Parliament, given that Minister Cele’s actions are in breach of his obligations and duties of care as provided for in the Code of Conduct applicable to MPs,” said Terblanche.
Cele’s spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba, said: “The developments from the Public Protector’s office have been noted.”