DA brands Bheki Cele a 'rape apologist', demands that he be fired
Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in a statement on Wednesday called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to remove Police Minister Bheki Cele from office after he scolded the media for mentioning a policeman's profession when reporting that he had been accused of raping his wife.
At a media briefing in Cape Town on Tuesday, Cele asked journalists why they had seized on the fact that the man was a police officer who had been arrested when in fact it was a case of spousal rape.
"We discovered that he is a policeman, but he is the husband of the lady - it is not the police," Cele said at the briefing, which followed the release of statistics on police abuses during the country's national lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The policeman was arrested on April 3.
“We arrest rapists every day who happen to be boyfriends and husbands, but we don’t say that we have arrested a pilot, or a taxi driver," the minister added, in a video recording posted on Twitter.
“He was not in uniform, it was not at the police station. It was in the middle of the night. Say: ‘The husband raped his wife’ — not the police."
The DA's shadow minister of police, Andrew Whitfield, said Ramaphosa should fire Cele for the "outrageous and cavalier remarks" and the minister should publicly apologise to South Africans.
"The minister is a rape apologist, and he must be held accountable for his careless and insensitive justifications for rape," Whitfield said.
"The DA calls on president Ramaphosa to remove Bheki Cele from his position, as he has proven, especially during this lockdown period that he is not fit for office. The president cannot, in good conscience, allow a person who is a rape apologist to continue serving as a minister of police."
Cele has encountered criticism for his hawkish stance on the lockdown measures, which are considered some of the most draconian adopted by any state to combat the coronavirus pandemic.